April 16, 2024123456789RHE
Notre Dame03002020X7120
Win: DJ Helwig (1-0) 3.020013
Loss: Krier (1-3) 3.043320
Renfro (VALPO) 412010
Ryan (VALPO) 402110
TJ Williams (ND) 513200
Connor Hincks (ND) 423301
Brady Gumpf (ND) 403100
Valpo to Clash with Instate Foe Notre Dame on Tuesday
Monday, April 15, 2024
Valpo to Clash with Instate Foe Notre Dame on Tuesday
Brady Nowicki hit his first collegiate home run this weekend vs. Belmont.

Valparaiso (11-22, 3-9 MVC)
at Notre Dame (15-18, 2-16 ACC)

Frank Eck Stadium (2,500) | Notre Dame, Ind.
Tuesday, April 16, 3:30 p.m. CT – RHP Kaleb Krier

Next Up in Valpo Baseball: The Valparaiso University baseball team will make the short trip east to face off with instate foe Notre Dame in Tuesday’s midweek matchup. The Beacons will attempt to get back in the road win column as they try to bring an 11-game road skid to a halt. Valpo head coach Brian Schmack is seeking his 200th career win on Tuesday.

Last Time Out: Valpo rallied from 7-0 down to pick up a dramatic 10-9 victory over Belmont in the middle game of this past weekend’s home Missouri Valley Conference set at Emory G. Bauer Field. With the potential winning run at third and nobody out, Carson Husmann broke for the plate and caused the Belmont pitcher to balk in the winning run. However, the Bruins took the opening game of the series 9-2 on Friday and Sunday’s rubber match 15-8.

Following the Beacons: Tuesday’s game will air on ACC Network Extra. For in-game updates, follow @ValpoBaseball on X. Links to live video, audio and stats are available on ValpoAthletics.com.

Head Coach Brian Schmack: Brian Schmack (199-316) is in his 11th season in charge of the program. He ranks third in program history in seasons coached and games coached as he coached his 500th game on March 17, 2024 at Campbell. He entered the season with 188 victories, the third most in program history. Schmack, a member of the 2003 Detroit Tigers, served as pitching coach/associate head coach at Valpo for seven seasons prior to his promotion.

Series Notes: Valpo is 21-73 all-time against Notre Dame in a series that dates back to 1958. Last season, Notre Dame prevailed 8-4 on March 21 and 7-3 on April 18, extending its head-to-head winning streak to 15. Eight of the last nine matchups have been decided by four runs or fewer. Valpo’s last victory over the Fighting Irish was a 7-4 win on May 2, 2012.

In The Other Dugout: Notre Dame

  • Picked sixth of seven in the ACC Atlantic Division.
  • Coming off being swept at North Carolina this past weekend, their third straight weekend being swept in an ACC series.
  • Won 30 games last season after a 41-win season and College World Series appearance in 2022.
  • Under the direction of second-year head coach Shawn Stiffler.
  • Led offensively by TJ Williams (.355 batting average) and Estevan Moreno (.333 batting average).

Balk-Off Win

  • The April 13 10-9 victory over Belmont ended in unusual fashion as Carson Husmann broke for the plate, causing Belmont’s pitcher to balk in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth.
  • That was Valpo’s first walk-off win since beating Milwaukee 7-6 in 11 innings on March 28, 2023 on a Kaleb Hannahs game-ending double.
  • This was Valpo’s sixth one-run game of the season as the team improved to 2-4 in such contests.
  • However, Valpo has enjoyed good success in home games decided by the slimmest of margins over the last two seasons, improving to 5-0 in one-run games played at Emory G. Bauer Field since the start of the 2023 campaign.

Other Notes Wrapping Up Belmont (April 12-14)

  • Valpo dropped Friday’s series opener 9-2 despite drawing 11 walks, the team’s second highest total of the season and highest since March 15 at Campbell. Valpo has dropped both games this season when drawing double-figure walks.
  • After the first two Valpo pitchers gave up nine runs on Friday, the rest of the staff pitched well. Josh Spencer had his second appearance of the season and first since March 17 at Campbell and heaved two scoreless innings. Bennett Musser followed with his fourth collegiate outing and put a zero on the board in the top of the ninth.
  • Carson Husmann homered in the first and third game of the weekend series, lifting his career total to 24 and his season total to four.
  • In Saturday’s aforementioned balk-off win, Brady Nowicki hit the first home run of his three-year Valpo career.
  • Griffin McCluskey delivered a heroic performance out of the bullpen on Saturday, tossing five scoreless innings to pick up his first win of the season and the seventh of his collegiate career. He got back on track with the clutch outing after entering the game with an 0-3 record and 10.12 ERA over 18 2/3 innings this season.
  • Ryan Maka doubled twice on Saturday, the fourth time a Valpo player has had multiple doubles in a game this season.
  • The 10 runs tied the team’s second-highest total of the season (13 on March 31 vs. Bradley; 10 on March 8 at The Citadel).
  • Kyle Schmack reached the 200-career hit milestone on Saturday, then slugged his 11th homer of the season and the 29th of his collegiate career on Sunday. He is one away from tying Jake Skrine’s home run total from last season for the most by a Valpo player in a single season since 2002.
  • RHP Grant Jablonski got the start on Sunday, his first collegiate start in his 44th career outing.

Notes Wrapping Up April 9: Milwaukee 7, Valpo 3

  • Valpo led 3-0 after an inning and a half but Milwaukee rallied with seven unanswered runs as Valpo did not score the rest of the way.
  • Brady Renfro drilled his second home run of the season and the 17th of his career.
  • Alex Ryan hit his fourth home run this season and the seventh of his career.
  • Renfro and Ryan both homered in their home state of Wisconsin.
  • Trent Turzenski, another Wisconsin native, made his first start in over two years as he started on the bump for the first time since April 1, 2022. His first seven appearances this year came in relief after he missed over a calendar year due to Tommy John surgery.
  • Kyle Schmack recorded his 199th collegiate hit, one shy from reaching the 200 milestone. He also drew his 91st career walk, moving into a tie for sixth in program history. In addition, he swiped a base, improving to 8-for-8 this season in stolen bases and recording his 30th career steal.
  • Ryan and Carson Husmann had two hits apiece.
  • Valpo dropped to 7-3 this season when outhitting the opponent as the Beacons held an 11-7 edge in the hit column but came out on the wrong end of the column that counts. Six of Valpo’s 11 hits went for extra bases.

Closing in on 200

  • Head coach Brian Schmack is just one win away from becoming the third skipper in program history to reach the 200-win threshold.
  • Schmack ranks third in program history in career victories, trailing only Paul Twenge (1988-2006, 378) and the legendary Emory G. Bauer (1954-1981, 359).
  • Schmack reached a milestone on March 17 at No. 21 Campbell, his 500th game at the helm of the program. He became the third skipper in program history to reach that number, joining Paul Twenge (1,011; 1988-2006) and Emory G. Bauer (1954-1981; 606).

Schmack schmacks

  • Kyle Schmack has hit 29 career home runs, the third most in program history and the most by any Valpo player since 2002.
  • Schmack has increased his career double total to 43, a number that ranks seventh in program history.
  • The Valpo slugger moved into the program’s all-time top 10 in RBIs during the Easter weekend series vs. Bradley. His total of 117 is ninth in program history.
  • Schmack also ranks among the program’s all-time leaders in career walks with 96. He ranks sixth in that category.
  • Enter April 16 at Notre Dame, Schmack has 203 career hits. He needs two more to crack the program’s all-time top 10.

Home Runs

Rank   Player                         Years              HR

1          J.J. Swiatkowski         1997-2000       36

2          Mark Pedersen            1998-2002       32

3          Kyle Schmack           2020-pres.      29

4          Jeff Mandsager           2001-2003       26

5          Joe Gersna                  1982-1985       23

6          Scott Carter                 1981-1984       22

Ken Mannings            1988-1991       22

Shawn Lemmons        1994-1996       22

Nate Palace                 2014-2017       22

10        Dan Schrum                1999-2002       21

Jamie Sykes                1994-1997       21

Dale Polonus               1986-1988       21

Marc Boggio               1999-2003       21

Sam Shaikin                2016-2019       21


Rank    Player                          Years               2B

1          Marc Boggio               1999-2003       58

2          Michael Arensdorff    2003-2007      57

3          Mark Pedersen            1998-2002       56

4          J.J. Swiatkowski         1997-2000       51

5          Kyle Gaedele              2009-2011       48

6          Nate Palace                 2013-2017       44

7          Kyle Schmack           2020-pres.      43

8          Chris Moore                1998-2001       41

Kevin Kutansky          2003-2006       41

10        Rob Hadrick               1994-1997       40

Runs Batted In

Rank    Player                          Years               RBIs

1          J.J. Swiatkowski         1997-2000       151

2          Mark Pedersen            1998-2002       142

3          Marc Boggio               1999-2003       141

4          Kevin Kutansky          2003-2006       133

5          Rob Hadrick               1994-1997       130

6          Chris Manning            2011-2014       127

7          Dale Polonus               1986-1988       126

8          Kyle Gaedele              2009-2011       121

9          Kyle Schmack           2020-pres.      117

10        Todd Poepard             1996-1999       116

Nate Palace                 2014-2017       116


Rank    Player                          Years               Walks

1          Spencer Mahoney       2012-2015       138

2          Marc Waite                 1989-1992       137

3          Sam Shaikin                2016-2019       104

4          Todd Poepard             1996-1999       102

5          Steve Wigdor              1985-1988       98

6          Kyle Schmack           2020-pres.      96

7          J.J. Swiatkowski         1997-2000       91

            Michael Arensdorff    2003-2007      91

9          Kyle Gaedele              2009-2011       86

10        Rick O’Connor           1992-1995       84


Rank    Player                          Years               Hits

1          Michael Arensdorff   2003-2007      273

2          Chris Manning            2011-2014       264

3          Mark Pedersen            1998-2002       251

4          Marc Boggio               1999-2003       242

5          Steven Scoby              2009-2012       228

6          Rob Hadrick               1994-1997       222

7          Andrew Bain               2010-2013       218

8          Spencer Mahoney       2012-2015       216

9          Kevin Kutansky          2003-2006       209

10        J.J. Swiatkowski         1997-2000       205

NR      Kyle Schmack           2020-pres.      203

Inside the Schedule

  • Valpo started the season with a four-game series against an Alabama State team that won 41 games and went 26-4 in the Southwest Athletic Conference last season.
  • The Beacons played three more in the Heart of Dixie from Feb. 23-25 at Alabama. The Crimson Tide of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) also won over 40 games in 2023, posting a 43-21 mark en route to an NCAA Regional crown and Super Regional appearance.
  • A challenging early-season docket continued on March 1, when Valpo played at Elon, a team that went 33-22 last season including a 19-9 mark in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA).
  • After a neutral site game on March 3 vs. Binghamton of the American East Conference – another team that finished with a winning record last year – Valpo visited Jacksonville, a 34-win team last year and a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference.
  • Valpo had a three-game series at No. 21 Campbell (March 15-17) against a team that went 46-15 and 22-5 in the Big South in 2023. The conference champion Fighting Camels reached NCAA Regionals.
  • The Beacons made their way to Nashville, Tenn. for a game against preseason No. 6 Vanderbilt on March 26. The Commodores went 42-20 last season, were the runners-up of the College World Series in 2021 and won the national title as recently as 2019.

Pitching Profile – Projected Starter  

  • #21 Kaleb Krier, Sr. (Altoona, Iowa / Southeast Polk (DMACC) – Made four appearances, all starts, in his first season at Valpo in 2023... Spent two seasons of JUCO ball at DMACC... Favorite MLB team is the New York Mets... Started on March 5 at Jacksonville and allowed three runs on five hits in three innings... Put together a solid start on March 12 at Gardner-Webb, going five innings of one-run, four-hit ball while walking none and striking out one. He received no decision in a game Valpo won 5-2... Started and went four innings while allowing six runs (five earned) on six hits and one walk in the March 19 home opener vs. Ball State, an eventual 9-6 win in which he received no decision... Started and went three solid innings on March 26 at No. 7 Vanderbilt, allowing one run on two hits and one walk while striking out three... Started and picked up the win on March 31 vs. Bradley after allowing two runs on just one hit over three innings... Started on April 7 at Illinois State and allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits in 2 2/3 innings to take the defeat... Started and went three innings, allowing two runs on three hits on April 12 vs. Belmont.

Pitching Profiles – Bullpen Bits

  • #24 Adam Guazzo, R-Fr. (Huntley, Ill. / Huntley) – Was sidelined and did not see action during his first season on campus in 2023... Two-time all-conference performer in basketball in addition to earning all-conference on the diamond as a senior in high school... Set his high school’s record for rebounds in a single season on the hardwood with 320 in 2021-22... Favorite TV shows are Breaking Bad and Ozarks... Made his first collegiate appearance and start by pitching four innings on Feb. 18 at Alabama State, allowing three runs (one earned) on Feb. 18 at Alabama State... Made his second start of the season on March 8 in Game 2 of a doubleheader at The Citadel, logging six innings of two-run (one earned), two-hit ball while striking out six and walking none in a game that Valpo won in extra innings... Took the defeat on March 16 at No. 21 Campbell after allowing eight runs on five hits in four innings... Allowed seven runs (six earned) on nine hits while walking none over 4 2/3 innings in his first MVC start on March 23 at Southern Illinois... Departed after one inning of his March 29 start vs. Bradley... Started on April 5 at Illinois State and took the defeat, allowing six earned runs in two innings.
  • #31 Joe Seiber, R-So. (Homer Glen, Ill. / Lockport [College of DuPage]) – Third team junior college All-American at Collee of DuPage... Favorite MLB team is the Chicago White Sox... Favorite movie is Billy Madison... Joined the program prior to the 2024 season as a junior college transfer... Earned his first Valpo save with two shutout innings of one-hit ball while allowing no walks to close out a 3-2 win at The Citadel in Game 1 of a doubleheader on March 8... Was not charged with a run in 2/3 of an inning in the series finale on March 10 at The Citadel... Went 2 1/3 innings of one-run, two-hit ball on March 23 at Southern Illinois... Tossed three shutout innings while allowing one hit and walking none on March 29 vs. Bradley... Allowed two runs on four hits in one inning on April 5 at Illinois State... Tossed two scoreless innings of relief on April 9 at Milwaukee.
  • #32 Bryce Konitzer, Sr. (Mukwonago, Wis. / Mukwonago [Oakland]) – Started his collegiate career at Illinois State as a member of the 2019 MVC championship team for the Redbirds... Then spent one season at Madison College before three years at Oakland... Worked his way back from March 2022 Tommy John surgery to be ready for the start of the 2023 campaign, during which he appeared in 15 games and made eight starts... Tossed a shutout inning on March 3 vs. Binghamton... Earned his first save at Valpo by pitching the final two innings of a 9-6 win over Ball State on March 19 without allowing a run or hit... Pitched two solid innings but took the loss on March 26 at No. 7 Vanderbilt. He allowed one run (a solo homer) on three hits while walking one and striking out two... Finished out Valpo’s victory in the March 31 series finale vs. Bradley with a scoreless inning, allowing just one hit... Worked three shutout innings on April 7 at Illinois State... Allowed one run on three hits in his two frames on April 14 vs. Belmont.
  • #36 Trent Turzenski, Sr. (Burlington, Wis. / Burlington) – Had a team-best ERA (2.48) in four games out of the bullpen during the shortened 2020 season... Made 13 appearances including 10 starts in 2021... Made seven starts as the team’s Friday starter before going down with a season-ending injury in 2022... Missed most of the 2023 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery. He pitched a scoreless inning and allowed one hit in his lone outing of the year, May 7 vs. Southern Illinois... Played in the Little League World Series Regional Tournament on ESPN twice when he was 11 and 12... Favorite MLB Player is Josh Hader... Nailed down the save with three innings of one-run ball while allowing three hits, striking out four and walking none in Game 1 of a doubleheader on Feb. 17 at Alabama State... Pitched four shutout innings while allowing only one hit and one walk and fanned four to earn the victory on March 1 at Elon... Allowed two runs on three hits and no walks in two innings of relief on March 8 at The Citadel in Game 1 of a doubleheader... Worked a scoreless ninth to finish out the March 12 win at Gardner-Webb... Made his first start in over two years (since April 1, 2022) and took the defeat, allowing five runs on three hits in three innings on April 9 at Milwaukee... Did not allow an earned run over 3 2/3 innings on April 14 vs. Belmont.
  • #38 RHP Griffin McCluskey, Sr. (Normal, Ill. / Normal Community) – As a freshman, got the starting nod on May 11, 2021 vs. No. 8 Notre Dame and pitched a gem at Emory G. Bauer Field, holding the guests to no runs on one hit – a seeing-eye single through the left side – while walking just one and striking out four in six innings. He left in position for the win after becoming just the third pitcher to hold Notre Dame scoreless while pitching six or more innings all season, joining Duke’s Jack Carey and Boston College’s Emmett Sheehan... Posted the highest fielding percentage by a starting shortstop in program history in high school... Finished in the top 10 in his high school’s history in career 3-point field goals in basketball... Enjoys playing the guitar... Earned his first collegiate victory in his hometown of Normal, Ill. on April 17, 2022, pitching Valpo to a 2-1 win over Illinois State on Easter Sunday. He allowed just one run on four hits and one walk while striking out five over six strong innings... Was Valpo’s 2023 opening day starter vs. Kansas in Corpus Christi, Texas... In 2023, tied for fourth in the league in games started, ranked 13th in innings pitched and was eighth in strikeouts... Got the Opening Night nod on Feb. 16, 2024 vs. Alabama State and took the defeat... Took the loss on Feb. 23 at No. 17 Alabama, when he was tagged for eight runs on seven hits in three innings... Tossed two innings of relief and allowed two runs on four hits and no walks in the March 10 series finale at The Citadel. This was his return to the mound after being briefly sidelined by an injury... Worked 2 2/3 innings of relief and allowed two runs on March 17 at No. 21 Campbell... Went four innings of solid ball, allowing two runs on two hits while walking four and striking out four on March 24 at Southern Illinois. He received no decision... Worked two scoreless innings and did not allow a hit on April 6 at Illinois State, pitching in his hometown of Normal, Ill... Picked up his first win of the season by delivering five shutout innings of two-hit ball while walking one and striking out six on April 13 vs. Belmont. The Bruins had scored nine runs in four innings before he came out of the bullpen and pitched shutout ball the rest of the way.
  • #39 Jake Jakubowski, Jr. (Lake in the Hills, Ill. / Huntley [Heartland]) – Won a national championship while playing junior college ball at Heartland CC... Played summer ball for the Kenosha Kingfish of the Northwoods League (2022) and the Burlington Bees of the Prospect League (2023)... Favorite movie is Super Bad... Retired all six batters he faced while pitching the final two innings of Game 2 of a Feb. 17 doubleheader at Alabama State... Nailed down the save on March 2 at Elon by coming in to record the final out... Picked up the win in Game 2 of a doubleheader on March 8 at The Citadel by firing 2 1/3 scoreless innings without allowing a hit or walk... Pitched a shutout inning in the March 12 win at Gardner-Webb... Pitched 1 1/3 innings of relief and was not charged with a run on March 15 at No. 21 Campbell... Entered the game with the bases loaded and two outs on March 26 at No. 7 Vanderbilt and recorded a big strikeout, the lone batter he faced... Worked the final two innings and allowed just one run on three hits on March 29 vs. Bradley... Came in with the bases loaded and two outs and struck out the lone batter he faced on April 7 at Illinois State... Pitched an inning and was not charged with any runs on April 9 at Milwaukee.
  • #42 LHP Lucas Foley, Fr. (Deer Park, Ill. / Lake Zurich) – 2023 IHSBCA 4A First Team All-State and PBR Third Team All-State... Conference Pitcher of the Year as a senior in high school in 2023... Enjoys water and snow skiing... Has broken his collarbone four times... Favorite musical group is Cold Play... Went seven innings and allowed just one run on five hits while walking none and striking out 11 on Feb. 17 at Alabama State, getting the start in the second game of a doubleheader and making his collegiate debut. He was one of two freshmen in the country with 11 or more strikeouts in a game over the opening weekend of the season... Incurred his first collegiate setback on Feb. 25 at No. 17 Alabama, allowing six runs on seven hits in three innings... Allowed one run on five hits and one walk in four innings of a start on March 3 vs. Binghamton, receiving no decision... Took the defeat after allowing five runs on eight hits in three innings in his start on March 10 at The Citadel... Made an early exit in his start on March 17 at No. 21 Campbell, when he retired just one batter... Moved to the bullpen and tossed two scoreless innings on March 22 at Southern Illinois... Struck out the side in his first inning of work and racked up six strikeouts in just 2 2/3 frames of relief on March 26 at No. 7 Vanderbilt. He was charged with one unearned run on three hits and one walk... Worked three shutout innings while striking out four, issuing no walks and permitting two hits to help Valpo beat Bradley on March 31... Allowed three runs in his two innings of relief on April 7 at Illinois State.

Position Player Profiles – Projected Lineup (based on recent games)

  • #27 Kyle Schmack, LF, Sr. (Wanatah, Ind. / South Central) – After graduating from nearby South Central High School in 2019, Kyle joined his father Brian’s program at Valpo… Was the MVP of the Indiana North/South All-Star Game in June 2019 following his senior year of high school… Also played football during his prep days… Appeared in 20 games and made nine starts during the shortened 2020 season… Appeared in all 51 games and made 50 starts in 2021, posting a .264 average that ranked fourth on the team while tying for second on the club with 24 RBIs and ranking second on the squad with nine doubles... Started all 47 games and batting .322 with nine home runs, 38 RBIs and a team-high 99 total bases in 2023... Fourth-year starter in 2024... Notched his first home run of the season and the 19th of his career on Feb. 18 at Alabama State... Entered the program’s career top 10 for doubles and hit his 20th career home run during a series where he hit .500 over three games at No. 17 Alabama from Feb. 23-25... Hit his 21st career home run on March 2 at Elon in a 7-5 win... Hit his 22nd career home run, climbing into a tie for fifth in program history, while also drilling a double on March 3 vs. Binghamton... Hit his 23rd career home run on March 10 at The Citadel, climbing into a tie for fourth in program history and taking over the most career home runs by any Valpo player since 2003... Moved into sole possession of fourth in program history with his 24th career home run on March 17 at No. 23 Campbell... Celebrated his 23rd birthday with two home runs in a March 19 win over Ball State, climbing into a tie for third in program history for career long balls... Hit two home runs in the March 29-31 series vs. Bradley, increasing his season total to 10.
  • #22 Ryan Maka, DH, Jr. (Oak Forest, Ill. / Oak Forest) – Also competed in golf in high school... Other hobbies include investing and going to the gym... Favorite TV Show is Stranger Things... Became the first Valpo player since 2018 and second since 2008 to notch a three-homer game on May 13, 2022 vs. Bradley. Had four home runs in that series and five extra-base hits en route to earning Collegiate Baseball Newspaper National Player of the Week recognition... Ranked third on the team in MVC-only batting average at .286 and tied for the team lead with four home runs in Valley play in 2022... 2023 All-MVC First Team and 2024 Preseason All-MVC honors... Posted a .345 batting average in 2023, jumping his average nearly 100 points from the previous season... Hit two grand slams in 2023, becoming the first Valpo player since at least 2006 with two career grand slams... Returned to the lineup on March 30 vs. Bradley for the first time since March 1 at Elon after missing 16 games due to an injury... Drilled his first home run of the season and the 13th of his collegiate career on April 5 at Illinois State... Doubled twice on April 13 vs. Belmont, the fourth Valpo player with a multiple double game this season... Had his 200th career hit on April 13 vs. Belmont... Slugged his 11th home run of the season and the 29th of his collegiate career on Sunday.
  • #7 Carson Husmann, RF, Sr. (Hannah, Ind. / South Central [Bradley]) – Played in 113 games and made 101 starts over four years at Bradley while hitting 20 home runs and driving in 68 runs... His best year was 2022, when he hit .277 with 13 home runs and 45 RBIs... High school teammates with Kyle Schmack at South Central in Northwest Indiana... Was also a four-year letter winner in basketball during his prep days... Homered in each game of a doubleheader sweep at The Citadel on March 8, his first two home runs in a Valpo uniform. He reached base nine times over the course of those two games... Returned for the March 29-31 series vs. Bradley after missing three games with an injury... Had a go-ahead, bases-clearing double in the rubber match vs. Bradley – his former team – on March 31... Homered in the first and third games of the April 12-14 series vs. Belmont.
  • #30 Brady Renfro, 1B, Sr. (Antigo, Wis. / Antigo) – Is an only child… Hobbies include hunting and fishing… Favorite MLB player is Clayton Kershaw and team is the Milwaukee Brewers… Played with STiKS Baseball Academy and the Chicago Scouts Association… Posted a 21-game on-base streak that was snapped on May 2, 2021 vs. Illinois State, at the time Valpo’s longest on-base streak since 2017... Named 2021 All-MVC Honorable Mention... Was one of two players to start all 48 games for Valpo in 2022... Tied for the team lead in both home runs (seven) and RBIs (27) while also posting a .275 batting average during the 2022 campaign... Hit .319 in MVC play in 2022, ranking second on the team in league-only batting average while driving in a team-high 11 runs in Valley action... During the 2023 campaign, had an on-base streak that reached 30 games before it was finally snapped on April 22 vs. UIC. That was Valpo’s longest such streak since 2016... Delivered a grand slam to help Valpo to an upset win over No. 22 Southern Miss on March 10... Missed time with a hip injury from April 23 to May 23... Hit .287 in 2023 while appearing in 34 games, all starts... Is a fourth-year starter in 2024... Had not played since the first weekend of the season (Feb. 17 at Alabama State) due to back issues but returned to action on March 12 at Gardner-Webb... Hit his first home run of the season and the 16th of his career on March 30 vs. Bradley... Hit his second home run of the season and the 17th of his career on April 9 at Milwaukee.
  • #33 Liam Patton, C, Gr. (Barrington, Ill. / Warsaw [Wabash]) – Spent the last three seasons at Wabash College, where he hit .384 with six home runs, 50 RBIs and a .582 slugging percentage in 2023... Had a go-ahead, two-run single with two outs in the ninth inning on March 5 vs. Jacksonville, a game Valpo eventually dropped 6-5 on a walk-off in the bottom of the ninth... Came up clutch again in the second game of a doubleheader on March 8 at The Citadel, when his bases-clearing double in the top of the 10th spurred a 10-5 victory.
  • #17 Alex Ryan, CF, Sr. (Lake Mills, Wis. / Lakeside Lutheran) – Played in 10 games and made one start as a freshman in 2021... Three-time all-conference pick in high school… Milwaukee Brewers fans… Has a twin sister, Olivia… Hobbies include hiking and playing card games... Played in 46 games (44 starts) in 2022... Was a member of the 2023 MVC Scholar-Athlete First Team after earning MVC Scholar-Athlete Honorable Mention the year prior... Finished 2023 with a .260 batting average while playing in 40 games and making 37 starts... Had Valpo’s second multi-homer game of the season, going deep twice on March 16 at No. 17 Campbell... Ripped a solo shot to account for Valpo’s lone run in a 13-1 loss at Southern Illinois on March 23... Belted a home run and made a great catch in his home state of Wisconsin on April 9 at Milwaukee.
  • #20 Brady Nowicki, 2B, Sr. (Big Bend, Wis. / Mukwonago [Indiana Hills CC]) – Interested in public relations and marketing... Joined the program for the 2022 season as a junior college transfer... Played JUCO baseball with teammates from eight different countries... Favorite food is Buffalo Wild Wings and favorite TV Show is Survivor... Hit his first collegiate home run on April 13 vs. Belmont.
  • #9 Connor Giusti, 2B, Sr. (Hoffman Estates, Ill. / Fremd [Wisconsin Oshkosh]) – Played in 117 games over four seasons at Wisconsin Oshkosh before transferring to Valpo for the 2023 campaign... Named to the all-defensive team and all-conference honorable mention at Oshkosh... Big Chicago Bears fan and loves football... Hit his 11th collegiate home run and first at Valpo on Opening Night on Feb. 16 at Alabama State.
  • #6 Alex Thurston, SS, Sr. (Fowler, Ind. / Benton Central) – Finished as the Valedictorian of his high school senior class… Won the 2019 Nanoline Automation National Championship with three classmates after creating an automated paint brush cleaner… Three-year all-conference honoree on the diamond while also playing four years of tennis and one year of basketball in high school… Appeared in 40 games and made 39 starts in 2021... Posted five hits on April 29, 2022 at Southern Illinois, becoming the first Valpo player with a five-hit game since Scott Kapers on May 8, 2018 at Western Michigan... After hitting .158 in 2021, made a significant jump with a team-high .301 batting average in 2022 while playing in 47 games, all starts... Played in 46 games – all starts – while turning in a .238 batting average in 2023... Is a fourth-year starter in 2024... Hit his fourth career home run on Opening Night, Feb. 16 at Alabama State... Laid down a squeeze bunt to drive in the tying run in the ninth inning of an eventual 10-5, 10-inning win in Game 2 of a March 8 doubleheader at The Citadel... Homered and had a team-high three hits in the March 19 home opener vs. Ball State... Hit his second home run in as many games and his third of the season on March 22 at Southern Illinois, when he drove in three runs... Hit his fourth home run of the season and third in a six-game span on March 31 vs. Bradley... Had his seventh career triple and the team’s first in over a month on April 9 at Milwaukee.

Inside the Assistants: Top assistant Kory Winter returns to head coach Brian Schmack’s staff this season, while assistant coach Jeff Mayes is back for Year 2 and assistant coach Adam Brian has joined the fold.

  • After spending three seasons as a volunteer assistant, Kory Winter was hired as Schmack’s top assistant and hitting coach beginning with the 2019 campaign. Winter played collegiately at Wittenberg and has completed coaching stints at Muskingum University and Shippensburg University. He is also Valpo’s outfield instructor.
  • Jeff Mayes is in his second season on the Valpo coaching staff, serving as the team’s infield coach while also assisting with the team’s hitters and manning the third base coaching box. He spent the previous three seasons on staff at his alma mater Aurora University, a Division-III institution in Illinois, where the program amassed an 83-21 record during his tenure. Prior to that, he enjoyed a standout playing career for the Spartans.
  • Adam Brian is in his first season on Valpo’s staff after graduating from Bradley. He works with the team’s catchers and holds down the first-base coaching box. Brian’s father Braden Brian played college baseball at Eastern Kentucky and was selected in the 30th round of the 1986 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft by the Montreal Expos.