The Valparaiso University baseball team began the California portion of its spring break trip on Tuesday night with a 4-3 loss at UC Riverside. On an evening when the Crusaders faced the challenge of playing in their fifth game in five days, a taxed pitching staff held the Highlanders to four runs, but the offense was kept scoreless outside of a three-run fifth inning.
How It Happened
- The Highlanders (5-7) struck first by putting together a two-run opening inning, then tacked on to make it 3-0 in the second.
- After being held without a run for the first four innings, what has been a potent Valpo offense all season broke through in the fifth. The Crusaders (4-7) put up a three-spot to tie the contest.
- After Chad Jacob (Irvine, Calif. / Woodbridge) and Scott Kapers (Schererville, Ind. / Mt. Carmel) worked back-to-back walks to start the inning, Riley Dent (Long Beach, Calif. / Wilson) crushed a double to left to get Valpo on the board. Jacob crossed the plate and Kapers scampered to third on the Dent double.
- Kapers was awarded the dish a moment later, when a ball bounced up into the chest protector of the UC Riverside catcher. All runners were awarded a base as the ball was considered out of play, allowing the Crusaders to score in unusual fashion to make it 3-2.
- The tying run came in as Chase Dawson (Chesterton, Ind. / Andrean) did his job, pulling a ground ball to the second baseman that permitted Dent to scoot home from third and make it 3-3.
- Freshman pitcher Josh Currier (Mokena, Ill. / Lincoln Way Central) lasted 3 2/3 innings in his first collegiate start. He allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits and four walks.
- Luke VanLanen (Pulaski, Wis. / Pulaski) got the final out of the fourth inning, then after the Crusaders scored three to tie it, the Valpo right-hander worked a scoreless bottom of the fifth to keep it a 3-3 deadlock.
- Dean Miller laced a go-ahead single to drive in Colby Schultz in the bottom of the sixth against VanLanen – a run that would prove to be the difference in the game.
- After usual Friday starter Jon Tieman (Crystal Lake, Ill. / Prairie Ridge) came in to provide a quick 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh, the Crusaders had a scoring chance in the eighth after Sam Shaikin (West Hills, Calif. / Chatsworth) led off with a double to left center, but he was stranded at second.
- Left-handed reliever Jarrett Hammel (Brook, Ind. / South Newton [St. Joseph’s College]) sent down the Highlanders quickly in the eighth, but none of Valpo’s ninth-inning magic from this past weekend carried over to Tuesday, as UC Riverside nailed down the victory.
- VanLanen took the loss to fall to 0-3, while Hazahel Quijada earned the win and improved to 2-2 with 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief. Starter Max Compton got no decision after striking out eight Crusaders and allowing three runs on three hits over five innings.
- Each of Valpo’s last four losses have come by one run and five of the team’s seven setbacks this season have been one-run affairs.
The Crusaders and Highlanders will do it again on Wednesday night. The second consecutive game between the two teams is slated to begin at 8 p.m. CT and live video will be available.