The Valparaiso University baseball team was hurt by one big Indiana State inning in Thursday’s series opener between the two Missouri Valley Conference foes at Emory G. Bauer Field. All six hits in the Sycamore sixth were singles, leading to a five-run uprising and an eventual 6-3 victory over the Crusaders. Blake Billinger (Los Gatos, Calif. / St. Francis [Mission]) tied the program record for doubles in a single season with his 23rd of the year in the eighth inning.
How It Happened
- With two outs in the top of the first, Dane Giesler launched a solo homer to right on the first pitch he saw from Valpo starter Jon Tieman (Crystal Lake, Ill. / Prairie Ridge).
- Tieman made a nice recovery from the early home run, sending down nine straight after a leadoff single in the second.
- Christian Barczi (Naperville, Ill. / Naperville North) ripped a single to lead off the fifth for Valpo’s first hit of the day. After a sacrifice bunt and a strikeout, he scored the first Crusader run when Sam Shaikin (West Hills, Calif. / Chatsworth) picked up a two-out single to tie the game.
- The 1-1 stalemate didn’t last as the Sycamores strung together four straight singles followed by a walk to start the top of the sixth. By the time the inning was said and done, five runs had crossed the plate on six hits, none of them for extra bases. Many of the balls were not hit sharply against Tieman, but they were placed in inopportune locations for the Valpo defense.
- Jarrett Hammel (Brook, Ind. / South Newton [Saint Joseph’s College]) did a commendable job out of the Valpo bullpen, working three scoreless innings without giving up a hit to keep the Crusaders in the game.
- Valpo (18-30, 6-13) chipped away with single runs in the seventh and eighth. The seventh-inning tally came on a passed ball, while the eighth-inning run scored on a Zack Leone (Pelham Manor, N.Y. / Fordham Prep [Susquehanna]) single that followed Billinger’s record-tying two-bagger.
- Indiana State (27-22, 9-10) brought in Tyler Grauer to pitch the ninth, and he delivered his third save as a leadoff single was erased on a game-ending double play.
Inside the Game
- Billinger tied the single-season doubles record of 23 that was set by Kyle Muhsteff in 2010.
- This week, the Valpo bullpen has allowed no runs on one hit in seven innings. If you go back a game further, Crusader relievers have yielded just one run in 13 innings over the last three games.
- Hammel has pitched 13 consecutive scoreless innings over his last six outings. Furthermore, the Valpo lefty has not even given up a hit in any of his last four appearances, a streak that spans 10 innings.
- The Valpo infield had a strong defensive day, as there were several plays that featured glowing glove work throughout the contest. Chad Jacob’s (Irvine, Calif. / Woodbridge) play for the final out of the third and Shaikin’s for the first out of the fourth both took away base hits from Indiana State.
- Indiana State’s Triton Polley (7-2) gained the win by allowing two runs (one earned) on two hits and four walks while striking out five in six innings. Tieman (5-5) was on the other end of the decision, allowing six runs on 10 hits and one walk in six frames.
The Crusaders and Sycamores will play the middle game of the three-game series on Friday at 1 p.m. CT. Trey Ferketic will get the nod from head coach Brian Schmack. The game can be heard on WVUR, 95.1 FM Valparaiso and links to live audio and stats will be available.