Ninth-Inning Homers Not Enough as Baseball Drops Finale

The Valparaiso University baseball team hit back-to-back home runs for the second time this season in the ninth inning of Saturday’s series finale at DBU, but the host Patriots prevailed 5-2 at Horner Ballpark in Dallas. Brady Renfro (Antigo, Wis. / Antigo) and Parker Johnson (Golden Valley, Minn. / Hopkins) connected on the consecutive dingers, both of which traveled to right center.

How It Happened

  • Valpo starter Zach Fricke (Arlington Heights, Ill. / Buffalo Grove) worked a scoreless opening inning, but was touched for a run on two hits in the second.
  • Neither team scored again until the bottom of the fourth, when DBU pushed across a single tally to make it 2-0. That ended Fricke’s day as Nolan Lebamoff (Fort Wayne, Ind. / Carroll [Kankakee CC]) was inserted with two on and got the final two outs of the frame.
  • A two-out single in the sixth made it 3-0 DBU, then the Patriots (18-7, 4-0) added two in the eighth with help from two Valpo (5-16, 0-4) miscues.
  • Valpo had just one hit through eight innings, but that changed in the ninth when Renfro and Johnson teamed up for the back-to-back jacks.

Inside the Game

  • Kyle Schmack (Wanatah, Ind. / South Central) doubled on a day where all three Valpo hits went for extra bases. The sophomore first baseman extended his hitting streak to 12, the program’s longest since Nate Palace’s 14 gamer in 2017.
  • Senior Steven Fitzsimmons (Golden Valley, Minn. / Robbinsdale Cooper) was hit by a pitch in the top of the ninth, extending his on-base streak to 18. He becomes the first Valpo player to reach that number since Giovanni Garbella in 2018.
  • Renfro’s home run was his second of the season, while Johnson belted the first of his collegiate career.
  • Valpo’s previous set of back-to-back home runs came courtesy of Damon Jorgensen and Jeremy Drudge on March 19 at Western Kentucky.
  • Lebamoff allowed just one unearned run on two hits and no walks in 2 2/3 innings of relief on Saturday. The righty worked 3 2/3 innings in the series and did not yield a run.