The Valparaiso University baseball team couldn’t keep its run of midweek success alive on Tuesday afternoon in Muncie, Ind., as Ball State defeated the Crusaders 11-2. Valpo received two hits apiece from Chad Jacob (Irvine, Calif. / Woodbridge), Christian Barczi (Naperville, Ill. / Naperville North) and Sam Shaikin (West Hills, Calif. / Chatsworth) in the losing effort.
How It Happened
- The Cardinals struck first against Valpo freshman starter Jake Larson (Irvine, Calif. / Woodbridge) when Alex Maloney singled, moved to second on a wild pitch and crossed the dish on a knock up the middle by Caleb Stayton in the bottom of the first.
- Seth Freed cranked a run-scoring double to the corner in right to make it 2-0 Ball State and place runners at second and third with still only one away in the first.
- Matt Eppers hit a ground ball up the middle that was destined for centerfield, but second baseman Chase Dawson (Chesterton, Ind. / Andrean) made a diving attempt and deflected the ball. Jacob, the shortstop, went to retrieve the ball in shallow center and Dawson was slow to get up and lost his glove, leaving second unoccupied and allowing Eppers to move up for a two-run double. That marked the end of the day for Larson, and Ellis Foreman (Round Rock, Texas / Stony Point) was called upon in relief.
- Foreman induced a ground ball from the first batter he faced, ending a prosperous Ball State first inning after four runs.
- After working out of a runners at second and third jam in the first, Ball State starter John Baker found himself in trouble again in the third. He hit back-to-back Valpo batters –Dawson and James Stea (Los Alamitos, Calif. / Los Alamitos [Golden West]) – to start the inning, then yielded a base hit up the middle to Jacob with everyone moving up 90 feet to load the bases with one away. Two batters later, Jake Hanson (Yorkville, Ill. / Aurora Christian) lifted a sacrifice fly to right to score Dawson and get Valpo on the board.
- Eppers recorded his third RBI of the game on a ground ball to the left side with runners at first and third and two outs in the third. Jacob made a diving try and got a piece of the ball to keep it on the infield, but a run scored from third to make it 5-1 Ball State.
- Another run came in as a ground ball to first by Jeff Riedel got by for an E-3, making it 6-1 Ball State. The next hitter, Roman Baisa, made Valpo pay with two more unearned runs as he cracked a double to the wall in right that scored two.
- For the second straight inning, the Crusaders stranded the bases loaded against Baker in the top of the fourth. Shaikin’s single, Riley Dent’s walk and Dawson’s second HBP had packed the sacks with one away, but the Crusaders couldn’t find a clutch hit.
- Barczi, a freshman, continued his recent offensive success in the top of the fifth by sending a double to the gap in right center, scoring Jayden Eggimann (Mesa, Ariz. / Desert Ridge [Central Arizona / Grand Canyon]), who had reached on an infield single to start the inning. Eggimann came on as a defensive replacement for Nate Palace at first in the fourth.
- The Cardinals poured on three more in the bottom of the fifth as Riedel delivered a two-run double to left and Maloney grounded a run-scoring single to short.
- The Valpo bullpen was strong late as Montana Quigley (Lake Forest, Calif. / El Toro), Easton Rhodehouse (Gilbert, Ariz. / Highland) and Jon Tieman (Crystal Lake, Ill. / Prairie Ridge) each worked scoreless frames in the sixth, seventh and eighth.
- Hanson saw his 16-game on-base streak come to an end.
Inside The Game
- Stea extended his league lead in hit by pitches by wearing his 12th of the season.
- Larson took the defeat, his first decision of the season, after allowing four runs (four earned) on four hits in 2/3 of an inning. Larson, a freshman, was making his first career start.
- Shaikin had two hits, his 10th multi-hit game of the season. He joins Stea and Palace as the three Crusaders with 10 multi-hit games or more. Shaikin’s performance extended his on-base streak to 14.
- Barczi has an extra-base hit in four straight games. He picked up his fifth multi-hit game of the year in 11 appearances and his third such performance in the last four games. Barczi’s double accounted for Valpo’s only extra-base hit of Tuesday’s game.
- Jacob also picked up two hits, his ninth multi-hit game of the year.
- This was Valpo’s first midweek defeat of the season. The Crusaders were previously 5-0 in midweek contests.
- Baker achieved the win to up his mark to 3-1 this year. He allowed two runs on six hits and one walk in five innings while notching five strikeouts.
The Crusaders will return home for a three-game holiday weekend series against Oakland (4-25, 2-7 Horizon) that begins on Thursday at 3 p.m. CT. All three games this weekend can be heard on 95.1 FM Valparaiso. Links to live audio and stats are available on ValpoAthletics.com.