March 26, 2024123456789RHE
Win: Miller Green (1-2) 1.200001
Loss: Konitzer (0-1) 2.031112
Hannahs (VALPO) 401000
Giusti (VALPO) 301000
RJ Austin (VU) 412000
Matthew Polk (VU) 402000
Valpo Edged by No. 7 Vandy in Midweek Matchup
Tuesday, March 26, 2024
Valpo Edged by No. 7 Vandy in Midweek Matchup

The Valparaiso University baseball pitching staff kept the lineup of one of the nation’s top teams mostly in check, but No. 7 Vanderbilt edged out a 3-2 victory on Tuesday night at Hawkins Field in Nashville, Tenn. Valpo pitchers racked up 12 strikeouts including six in 2 2/3 innings from freshman lefty Lucas Foley (Deer Park, Ill. / Lake Zurich).

How It Happened

  • Vanderbilt scored on a solo home run in the second, but that was the only damage by the Commodores in three innings against Valpo starter Kaleb Krier (Altoona, Iowa / Southeast Polk [DMACC]). He left in a tied game after yielding just the one run on two hits while walking one and striking out three.
  • The Beacons got even in the top of the third, as Chase Maifield (Fox Lake, Ill. / Grant [Augustana]) was hit by a pitch, scooted to third on a rip by Kaleb Hannahs (West Terre Haute, Ind. / West Vigo) and trotted across the plate on a sharp ground ball to short by Brady Renfro (Antigo, Wis. / Antigo).
  • Foley entered the game in the fourth and went through the heart of the lineup against a top-10 team with ease, striking out the side as the freshman sent down the 3-4-5 hitters.
  • Foley added two more strikeouts in the fifth, once again working a scoreless frame to keep the game even at one.
  • Vandy got a run to take the lead in the sixth, but Jake Jakubowski (Lake in the Hills, Ill. / Huntley [Heartland]) delivered a clutch inning-ending strikeout after entering with the bases juiced and two down to keep the damage minimum as the hosts held a slim 2-1 lead through six.
  • The Beacons got even in the seventh when Alex Thurston (Fowler, Ind. / Benton Central) led off with a walk and eventually came around to score on an error. Alex Ryan (Lake Mills, Wis. / Lakeside Lutheran), who had also walked, tried to score the go-ahead run from second on that same throwing error, but he was out at the plate on a close play. The play went to replay review, but the call on the field stood, so the inning ended with the game even at two.
  • Vanderbilt regained the lead with a solo shot in the seventh to make it 3-2.
  • Valpo had a man in scoring position with one away in the top of the eighth, but back-to-back strikeouts ended the threat with the potential tying run stranded at second.
  • It remained a one-run game as Bryce Konitzer (Mukwonago, Wis. / Mukwonago [Oakland]) put up a zero in the bottom of the eighth, but Vandy escaped with the win.  

Inside the Game

  • The 12 strikeouts tied for the most in a game by Valpo pitchers this season, joining the Feb. 17 game at Alabama State.
  • Hannahs – who stretched his season-long on-base streak to 23 games – and Connor Giusti (Hoffman Estates, Ill. / Fremd [Wisconsin Oshkosh]) had hits for the Beacons.
  • Valpo batters accepted five walks while the pitching issued just three free passes.
  • The Beacons played their fifth one-run game of the season, dropping to 1-4 in such contests.
  • This marked Valpo’s seventh game this season against Top-25 competition. Valpo is .500 at 8-8 in all other games but slipped to 0-7 against nationally-ranked competition. This marked Valpo’s second one-run game against a ranked opponent as Valpo fell 10-9 on March 15 at No. 21 Campbell.
  • Valpo went toe-to-toe with a Vanderbilt team that won the national title as recently as 2019, was the College World Series runner-up in 2021 and went 42-20 last season.

Up Next

Valpo (8-15) will start a three-game weekend series with Bradley on Friday at 3 p.m. at Emory G. Bauer Field. The game will air on ESPN+.