The Valparaiso University baseball team celebrated its 10-member senior class on Saturday afternoon prior to the regular season finale against Indiana State at Emory G. Bauer Field. The Crusaders started five seniors and used four more out of the bullpen in an 8-2 loss to the Sycamores.
How It Happened
- Indiana State (29-22, 11-10) jumped in front with a three-run first inning. Jarrod Watkins laced a single to right to drive in two before Jake Means picked up an RBI base hit.
- Valpo’s only hits of the game came in succession in the second inning. Zack Leone (Pelham Manor, N.Y. / Fordham Prep [Susquehanna]) started the frame with a single to center, then he moved to third on a double by Chad Jacob (Irvine, Calif. / Woodbridge) that bounced off the lip of the grass and through the right side.
- Leone scored on a wild pitch before Christian Barczi (Naperville, Ill. / Naperville North) lifted a sacrifice fly to plate Jacob and make it a 3-2 game.
- The score stayed that way until the fifth, when Dane Giesler cracked a two-out, two-run homer to right to expand the edge to 5-2.
- Starting pitcher Wes Gordon (Gurnee, Ill. / Warren [Lake County]) left after five innings, giving way to a string of senior relievers in the home finale. Two of the bullpen men that saw action worked scoreless innings – Hayden Kissee (Cumberland, Ind. / Greenfield Central [Kaskaskia]) and Luke VanLanen (Pulaski, Wis. / Pulaski).
- The Sycamores tacked on two in the seventh and one more in the ninth innings to account for the six-run margin.
- The Crusaders (18-32, 6-15) were held hitless over the final seven innings. Indiana State starter Weston Rivers gained the win to improve to 4-0 after allowing two runs on two hits in five frames. Geremy Guerrero, Ethan Larrison and Tyler Grauer combined to allow just one base runner (a walk to Leone) over four innings of relief.
- Gordon (2-6) was on the other end of the decision after allowing five runs on seven hits in five frames.
Inside the Game
- Jacob doubled in his final home game, accounting for Valpo’s lone extra-base hit. That marked his 13th double of the season. The senior played in his 128th game and made his 121st start on Saturday.
- Senior Chet Joslyn’s (Battle Creek, Mich. / Lakeview) appearance was the 75th of his career, the most of any active Crusader pitcher. He has yielded only one run over his last four outings, spanning seven innings of work.
- VanLanen also ended the season on a high note, allowing two runs on just four hits in seven innings over three games (one start) this week.
The Crusaders will begin the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament on Wednesday at Horner Ballpark in Dallas, Texas. Every game of the eight-team, double elimination event hosted by DBU will air on ESPN+.