April 27, 2024123456789RHE
UIC Flames000000120360
Win: SMITH (2-1) 3.000002
Loss: McCluskey (1-4) 2.043300
Thurston (VALPO) 402000
HENKLE (UIC) 311010
HARRIS (UIC) 301000
KAY (UIC) 301000
Lockwood Throws Six Shutout Innings; UIC Rallies Late
Saturday, April 27, 2024
Lockwood Throws Six Shutout Innings; UIC Rallies Late
Connor Lockwood threw six shutout innings and left in line for the win on Saturday.

Starting pitcher Connor Lockwood (Libertyville, Ill. / Libertyville) threw six shutout innings and the Valparaiso University baseball team led 2-0 in the seventh and 2-1 in the eighth, but host UIC rallied with two in the bottom of the eighth to win 3-2 at Curtis Granderson Stadium on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in Chicago. The Beacons have dropped both games in the series despite outhitting the Flames in both contests. Defense remained a Beacon bright spot as Valpo did not commit an error and made several dandy plays.  

How It Happened

  • Turning two was the name of the game for the Valpo defense early as Lockwood held the Flames off the board in each of the first three frames thanks in part to a double play in each inning. A 4-6-3 ended the first, then a 6-4-3 accounted for the first two outs of the second. In the third, Lockwood recorded a strikeout and catcher Kade Reinertson (Huxley, Iowa / Ballard Community) threw down to second to complete a strike-him-out, throw-him-out twin killing.  
  • Valpo scored the game’s first runs in the top of the fourth. The frame started with three straight singles including a Ryan Maka (Oak Forest, Ill. / Oak Forest) knock on a hit-and-run to chase a run home. Carson Husmann (Hanna, Ind. / South Central [Bradley]) lifted a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0.
  • Lockwood worked a scoreless fourth. The Valpo defense did not turn two for the first time in the game, but Alex Ryan (Lake Mills, Wis. / Lakeside Lutheran) did run in to make a diving snag to end the inning.
  • Valpo had a golden chance to tack on in the top of the fifth with the bases loaded and nobody out, but the Flames recorded three straight strikeouts to escape the jam.
  • Lockwood left after six shutout innings of two-hit ball. The three double plays and his six strikeouts helped him counteract six walks. He got help from the defense behind him, including a great grab by left fielder Kyle Schmack (Wanatah, Ind. / South Central) in Lockwood’s final inning of work.
  • The first UIC batter to come to the plate against the Valpo bullpen was Jackson Bessette, who hit a solo homer to lead off the bottom of the seventh and cut the lead to one at 2-1.
  • Three singles including one by Ryan Nagelbach that drove in two flipped the scoreboard in the bottom of the eighth, allowing UIC to take a 3-2 lead. That stood as the game’s final score.

Inside the Game

  • Valpo played its 10th one-run game and fell to 3-7 in such contests. The Beacons are 4-12 in games decided by two runs or fewer.
  • The Beacons were hoping to close out a rare lowing-scoring win, but dropped to 0-10 in league games when scoring five runs or fewer.
  • For the second straight day, Valpo lost despite having more hits than the Flames. The Beacons are 8-5 when outhitting the opponent this season.
  • Valpo entered the game 8-0 this season when leading after seven innings but incurred the team’s first defeat under those circumstances. In fact, the Beacons had a 37-game winning streak when leading after seven innings snapped on Saturday. That streak dated back to May 11, 2021, a 7-4 loss to No. 8 Notre Dame.
  • Despite yielding a season-high six walks, Lockwood’s outing was statistically his best of the season when factoring in runs allowed (none), innings pitched (six) and hits allowed (two). He left in line for the win but ended up with no decision.
  • For the first time in the last 13 games, Valpo batters did not draw any walks.
  • The Valpo defense remained a bright spot as the Beacons played errorless ball for the fifth time in the last seven games.
  • Senior Alex Thurston (Fowler, Ind. / Benton Central) had two hits to lead the offense.

Up Next

Valpo (12-28, 4-13 MVC) will close out the series on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Curtis Granderson Stadium. The game will air on ESPN+.