A five-run seventh inning that featured a Chase Dawson (Andrean / Chesterton, Ind.) grand slam helped the Valparaiso University baseball team break Friday’s game wide open. From there, the Crusaders coasted to a 14-7 victory over host Arkansas Pine Bluff at Torii Hunter Baseball Complex. Dawson also had a run-scoring triple, while Zack Leone (Pelham Manor, N.Y. / Fordham Prep [Susquehanna]) returned to the lineup and contributed three hits to the winning cause.
How It Happened
- The Crusaders (5-11) started the scoring in the second inning when Chad Jacob (Irvine, Calif. / Woodbridge) scored on a sacrifice fly by Jayden Eggimann (Mesa, Ariz. / Desert Ridge [Central Arizona / Grand Canyon]) before Dawson ripped an RBI triple down the right-field line.
- Sophomore starting pitcher Jon Tieman (Crystal Lake, Ill. / Prairie Ridge) kept the Golden Lions (5-8) off the scoreboard for the first three innings, but Arkansas Pine Bluff snagged the lead with one swing of the bat in the fourth. Nick Kruetzer slugged a three-run homer after back-to-back singles started the inning. Tieman yielded no further damage in the fourth, but the Golden Lions took a 3-2 lead to the fifth.
- It didn’t take long for the Crusaders to level the score as Sam Shaikin (West Hills, Calif. / Chatsworth) doubled in the fifth and later scored on a single by Giovanni Garbella (San Diego, Calif. / Cathedral Catholic). Leone followed with a run-scoring single of his own, putting Valpo back on top 4-3.
- The Crusaders got into the bullpen in the sixth after a Riley Dent (Long Beach, Calif. / Wilson) double with one out, then Eggimann greeted reliever Tim Reynolds with a run-scoring single to stretch the lead to 5-3.
- After a two-out, bases-loaded walk to Eggimann in the seventh made it 6-3, Dawson belted one over the right field fence, a grand slam that extended Valpo’s lead to seven.
- Arkansas Pine Bluff got one back in the bottom of the seventh, then scored three more (one earned) in the bottom of the eighth.
- Tieman lasted all the way through the eighth inning, permitting seven runs (five earned) on 10 hits. He displayed great control, striking out seven while issuing no walks. Tieman was credited with the win to improve to 2-2.
- Senior Alex Dirienzo (Somerset, Pa. / Somerset [Akron]) made his season debut after missing the first 15 games with an injury. He struck out the side in the ninth to secure the victory.
Inside the Game
- Dawson’s grand slam was the first of his career and the first grand slam by a Crusader since April 13, 2017 when James Stea hit one against Oakland. He has three home runs this season after having none in either of his first two years.
- Dawson became the third Crusader this season to enjoy a five RBI game, establishing a new career high. He had reached a personal best last week by driving in four on March 7 at UC Riverside.
- Dawson has put together five consecutive multi-hit games.
- This marked the first time in Tieman’s career that he did not issue a walk in a start (ninth career start).
- The middle of the order was especially productive for the Crusaders on Friday, when the No. 4, No. 5 and No. 6 hitters combined to go 7-for-15. Garbella and Jacob had two hits apiece to help the Crusader cause, while Leone finished with three hits or more for the third time this season.
- Eight of the nine Valpo batters had at least one hit.
- Garbella has hit safely in all seven games he’s played this season.
- This was the first time Valpo’s pitching staff did not allowed any walks in a game since April 23 of last season against Wright State. Conversely, Valpo batters drew nine walks, their most since Feb. 24 against Holy Cross (18).
The Crusaders and Golden Lions will play two on Saturday beginning at noon Central Time. Live stats will be available for both games and updates can be found by following @ValpoBaseball on Twitter. Trey Ferketic will start the opener for the Crusaders before Wes Gordon takes the ball for the series finale.