March 02, 2024123456789RHE
Win: Cottrill (2-1) 5.062113
Loss: Sieracki (1-1) 5.055235
Schmack (VALPO) 512101
Giusti (VALPO) 412010
Mallory Jr. (ELON) 514000
Valpo Victorious for Second Straight Day at Elon
Saturday, March 2, 2024
Valpo Victorious for Second Straight Day at Elon
Kyle Schmack entered the top 10 in program history for career home runs on Saturday.

A day after defeating Elon ace and reigning Freshman All-American Justin Mitrovich on Friday, the Valparaiso University baseball team repeated its success against the Phoenix on Saturday, prevailing 7-5. Rain at Wake Forest led to a schedule change for this weekend’s event, and the Beacons took full advantage of the opportunity to once again face the Phoenix by finalizing a two-game sweep in Elon, N.C. against a team that won 33 games last season.

How It Happened

  • It didn’t take long for Valpo to start the scoring as the Beacons struck first when Kyle Schmack (Wanatah, Ind. / South Central) ripped a solo shot to left in the opening inning. Later in the frame, Chase Maifield (Fox Lake, Ill. / Grant [Augustana]) grounded out to drive in a run and make it 2-0.
  • Valpo added to the lead in the top of the fifth, when Kevin Denty (Tinley Park, Ill. / Marian Catholic) lifted a sacrifice fly to plate Alex Thurston (Fowler, Ind. / Benton Central).
  • Valpo starting pitcher Josh Cottrill (Pewaukee, Wis. / Pewaukee) cruised through the first four innings without yielding a run. The only time the Phoenix did damage against him was in the bottom of the fifth, when a solo homer scored one and a ball that got by the catcher produced another to make it 3-2.
  • The Beacons scored twice in the sixth, first as Maifield touched the dish when a throw to third on a stolen-base attempt got away, then as Kaleb Hannahs (West Terre Haute, Ind. / West Vigo) stroked a single to make it 5-2.
  • The guests extended the edge to 7-2 in the seventh when Maifield lashed an RBI single that brought home a pair.  
  • Elon got three back in the bottom of the inning on a three-run jack to cut the lead to two at 7-5.
  • After two innings of relief from Grant Jablonski (Mishawaka, Ind. / Mishawaka), the Beacons went with Adam Guazzo (Huntley, Ill. / Huntley) to start the eighth inning. He flipped a flawless frame to keep the two-run lead intact. Denty doubled with one away in the top of the ninth, but a deep fly ball to center was eventually hauled in to end the inning and it stayed a two-run game.
  • Guazzo got the first two outs of the bottom of the ninth but exited with two down and runners at the corners with the Beacons clinging to a 7-5 lead as Jake Jakubowski (Lake in the Hills, Ill. / Huntley [Heartland]) came on to try to nail down the 27th out. He induced a foul out to secure his first save of the season.

Inside the Game

  • Schmack’s home run was the 21st of his collegiate career, moving him into a tie for ninth in program history. He joins Dan Schrum (1999-2002), Dale Polonus (1986-1988), Marc Boggio (1999-2003) and Sam Shaikin (2016-2019) in that deadlock.  
  • Schmack enjoyed a multi-hit game, while Connor Giusti (Hoffman Estates, Ill. / Fremd [Wisconsin Oshkosh]) reached base three times with two hits and a walk.
  • Cottrill yielded just two runs (one earned) on five hits while walking one and striking out three. He earned his second win of the season to improve to 2-1.
  • Each team had eight hits, but Valpo batters worked seven walks while the pitching staff yielded only three.
  • Denty continued to make an impact at the plate as the freshman doubled, walked twice and lifted a sacrifice fly while scoring two runs in the victory.

Up Next

Valpo (4-5) will play Binghamton on Sunday at 9 a.m. CT in Winston-Salem, N.C. to close out this weekend’s event hosted by Wake Forest.