It took longer than the regulation nine innings, but the Valparaiso University baseball team grabbed its first one-run win of the season on Tuesday night at Illinois State. A go-ahead bases-loaded walk by Chase Dawson (Andrean / Chesterton, Ind.) in the top of the 12th helped the Crusaders top the Redbirds 4-3 at Duffy Bass Field. The Crusaders prevailed in a battle of the bullpens that saw both teams go scoreless from the sixth through 12th innings.
How It Happened
- The Crusaders wasted no time mounting their first threat of the game, as James Stea (Los Alamitos, Calif. / Los Alamitos [Golden West]) reached on a dropped third strike and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt in the top of the first. However, Stea was cut down attempting to steal third on a close play. Nate Palace (Westlake Village, Calif. / Oaks Christian) followed with a double to the gap in left that would have scored Stea. Palace moved to third on a wild pitch, but was stranded there.
- The Crusaders scored their first run of the game on an unusual play in the top of the third. Valpo had runners at first and third with two outs. Dawson danced off first, drawing a snap throw to first from the Illinois State catcher. Stea bolted for the dish when the catcher release the ball, and scored ahead of the return throw. Dawson also moved up to second as part of a double steal.
- Riley Dent (Long Beach,Calif. / Wilson) grounded a single through the hole between third and short with one out in the fourth, allowing Sam Shaikin (West Hills, Calif. / Chatsworth), who had tripled to start the inning, to come in and score and make it 2-0 Valpo.
- Valpo starting pitcher Grant Inman (Fort Wayne, Ind. / Carroll) left after three innings. He did not allow a hit and issued one walk while facing the minimum in a strong outing.
- Both starters received no decisions, as Illinois State’s Colton Johnson permitted two runs (earned) on five hits while striking out five and walking none over four frames.
- Jake Hanson (Yorkville, Ill. / Aurora Christian) smoked a two-out double down the left field line in the fifth, scoring Stea from third. That boosted Valpo’s lead to 3-0 over Illinois State.
- The Redbirds achieved their first hit of the game in the fifth, and Bryce Grimm followed by spanking a run-scoring double to put Illinois State on the board and chase Alex Dirienzo (Somerset, Pa. / Somerset [Akron]) from the game.
- Montana Quigley (Lake Forest, Calif. / El Toro) allowed a two-run, two-bagger to Collin Braithwaite, the first man he faced. The ball nearly left the yard, and instead banged off the wall in deep left. Both runs were charged to Quigley.
- Dirienzo had worked a scoreless fourth, but was charged with three runs (all earned) on two hits while going one inning plus.
- After the fifth inning, neither team scored again in the remainder of the regulation nine. Quigley pitched a scoreless sixth, followed by two shutout frames by Hayden Kissee (Indianapolis, Ind. / Greenfield Central [Kaskaskia College]) and a scoreless ninth from Luke VanLanen (Pulaski, Wis. / Pulaski).
- Following Hanson’s double in the fifth, 12 straight Crusaders were retired before Kapers worked a two-out walk in the ninth.
- After the fifth inning, Valpo didn’t pick up another hit until the 12th, when Dent led off by bouncing a single into right. Kapers laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Dent into scoring position, then Giovanni Garbella (San Diego, Calif. / Cathedral Catholic) hit a bloop single to center and Dent scampered to third. Stea was hit by a pitch to load the bags with one away.
- After taking several close pitches, narrowly staying alive on a foul ball that popped out of the catcher’s mitt and ripping one foul, Dawson accepted a bases-loaded walk on a payoff pitch from Illinois State’s Jeff Lindgren to force in a run and give Valpo the lead.
- Freshman Jon Tieman (Crystal Lake, Ill. / Prairie Ridge) came on to work a scoreless bottom of the 12th, securing the save.
Inside the Game
- Dawson returned to the lineup after missing all three games this weekend. However, shortstop Chad Jacob was sidelined due to illness. Shaikin slid from third to short, and Scott Kapers played third base for the first time in his collegiate career.
- Freshman Blake Lutgen (Strafford, Mo. / Strafford) batted ninth as the Valpo designated hitter, marking the first start of his collegiate career.
- Stea’s steal of home was his team-leading 15th stolen base of the season.
- Stea enjoyed another multi-hit performance, his second straight. He has eight multiple hit outputs this year.
- Shaikin’s triple was his first of the season and the second of his collegiate career.
- Dent’s RBI in the fourth was the first of his collegiate career.
- Hanson’s RBI was his 12th of the year, moving him back into sole possession of second place on the club behind Palace, who has 19.
- This was Valpo’s second extra-inning game this season. Their first was a 6-3 win over Jacksonville on March 3.
- Stea’s 12th inning hit by pitch was his team-leading 11th of the season.
- Tieman notched his league-leading sixth save of the year.
Wednesday’s scheduled game between the Crusaders and Western Michigan Broncos has been canceled due to field conditions and expected inclement weather. The Crusaders will open the home slate on Friday, April 7 at 3 p.m. against Northern Kentucky. The game can be heard on 95.1 FM Valparaiso. Links to live audio and stats are available on ValpoAthletics.com.