The Valparaiso University baseball team has been competitive over the course of its tough road schedule to start the season, but one-run losses have been a bugaboo for the Crusaders. Valpo suffered its second straight one-run defeat to Wichita State on Saturday afternoon at Eck Stadium, falling to the Shockers by a score of 3-2.
How It Happened
- The Shockers (13-13) had an immediate chance in the bottom of the first, as Jacob Katzfey led off with a double and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. He tagged and tried to score on a fly ball to left field, but after the Crusaders appealed, he was ruled out for leaving early.
- The Crusaders (9-15) had an opportunity of their own in the top of the second. Jake Hanson (Yorkville, Ill. / Aurora Christian) led off with a single, then Sam Shaikin (West Hills, Calif. / Chatsworth) reached on a bunt hit after dodging the tag of Wichita State starting pitcher Tommy Barnhouse. Scott Kapers (Schererville, Ind. / Mt. Carmel) tried to sacrifice, but the Shockers got the lead man at third. A fly ball, hit by pitch and bases-loaded strikeout followed, as the Crusaders failed to score and stranded the bases juiced.
- The Shockers scored the first run of the game on an unusual play in the bottom of the second. With runners at first and third and nobody out, Trey Vickers hit a fly ball to shallow right, which was dropped by Kapers. Right fielder Giovanni Garbella (San Diego, Calif. / Cathedral Catholic) picked it up and gunned it to second to retire the runner from first for a fielder’s choice. A run scored on the play to make it 1-0 Wichita State.
- Chad Jacob (Irvine, Calif. / Woodbridge) led off the third with a triple to deep center, but was stranded 90 feet away as Barnhouse wiggled out of the jam.
- The Shockers scored again in the third as Travis Young singled up the middle, a ball that was misplayed in center. The runner from second would have held at third, but he scored on the E-8. Young attempted to advance to second, but was cut down.
- Wichita State scored a single tally for the third consecutive frame in the fourth. Valpo turned a 4-6-3 double play, but a run crossed the dish to make it 3-0 Shockers.
- The Crusaders took a bite out of the Wichita State lead in the fifth. They loaded the bases with one out after a hit batter, double by Jacob and a dropped third strike. That set up a ground ball to short by Barczi. The Shockers tried to turn two, but the second baseman’s relay throw to first was wild. Barczi reached on a fielder’s choice and received one RBI, then a second run crossed the dish and Barczi advanced to second on an E-4. Barnhosue got a ground ball to third to end the inning, but not before Valpo had cut the deficit to one at 3-2.
- Alex Dirienzo (Somerset, Pa. / Somerset [Akron] was summoned from the bullpen to replace Valpo starter Wes Gordon (Waukegan, Ill. / Warren [Lake County]) with two on and one out in the fifth. The right-handed reliever delivered back-to-back strikeouts to work out of the jam.
- The Crusaders made a pair of strong defensive plays in the game’s late innings – a diving grab by James Stea (Los Alamitos, Calif. / Los Alamitos [Golden West]) in the sixth and sliding catch by Garbella on the warning track in right to end the seventh.
- Stea doubled to shallow left with two outs in the ninth, but Wichita State’s Ben Hecht induced a ground ball for the final out to nail down his fifth save.
Inside the Game
- An illness held Chase Dawson out of the lineup for the second straight day. Kapers, normally Valpo’s catcher, again played second base.
- Jacob’s triple was his first of his collegiate career in 56 games. He had another multi-hit output, his seventh of the season in 13 games played.
- Gordon allowed three runs (three earned) on seven hits and one walk while striking out two in 4 1/3 innings. He was hit with the loss and drops to 1-4 on the year.
- Barnhouse went five innings and yielded two runs (none earned) on five hits while walking none and striking out five. He grabbed the win to boost his record to 2-2.
- Stea was hit by a pitch twice in the game, boosting his season total to 10, which leads the Horizon League.
- Palace extended his hitting streak to 11, while Jacob reached base for the 13th straight game.
- The Crusaders are now 0-7 in one-run games this season. They’re also 0-8 when opponents score first.
The Crusaders and Shockers will round out the series on Sunday at 1 p.m. CT. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3, WatchESPN and the ESPN app. Links to live video and stats are available on ValpoAthletics.com.