The Valparaiso University baseball team threw out the first pitch of the 2019 season on Friday afternoon in Nashville, Tenn. Host Lipscomb used a five-run fifth inning to secure a season-opening 6-0 victory over Valpo.
How It Happened
- The Bisons (1-0) struck first without the benefit of a hit in the bottom of the second, parlaying two walks and a hit batter into a run with help from a sacrifice fly. Mike Kornacker (Lemont, Ill. / St. Laurence [Purdue]) prevented any further damage by working out of the inning as the Bisons left men at second and third.
- Kornacker put goose eggs on the board in the third and fourth innings, but Lipscomb garnered another run against him prior to notching a hit in the fifth, making it 2-0 thanks to two walks and an error. Kornacker left the game with two outs and two on in the fifth, but the first two batters against the Valpo bullpen both homered to make it 6-0 Lipscomb through five frames. Chris Bashlor cracked a three-run homer before David Graves made it back-to-back jacks.
- Freshman Zack Fricke (Arlington Heights, Ill. / Buffalo Grove) was a major bright spot for Valpo, tossing two scoreless innings in his collegiate debut. He permitted one hit and walked one while striking out three in his relief stint. Fellow freshman Keegan Bates (Plainfield, Ill. / Plainfield North) also worked a scoreless frame on the first day of his collegiate career.
- Offensively, Valpo scattered four hits with seniors Blake Billinger (Los Gatos, Calif. / St. Francis [Mission]), Patrick Donohue (Arlington Heights, Ill. / Prospect), Brent Jones (Ankeny, Iowa / Ankeny Centennial [Iowa Central]) and Chase Dawson (Andrean / Chesterton, Ind.) accounting for the base knocks.
Inside the Game
- Kornacker made his first start in a Valpo uniform after joining the team as a graduate transfer from Purdue. Louie Baker (Gold Coast, Australia [Scottsdale CC]) and Damon Jorgensen (Blair, Neb. / Blair [Coffeyville]) are other newcomers who made their Valpo debuts as part of the starting lineup on Friday.
- Dawson made his first career start in the No. 3 spot in the batting order in his 152nd career game and 148th career start. He previously batted first, second and ninth. Billinger hit cleanup after batting third in every game last year, while Riley Dent (Long Beach, Calif. / Wilson) batted leadoff for the second time in his career and first time since 2017.
- Kornacker was hit with the loss after allowing four runs (three earned) on just one hit and four walks while striking out four over 4 2/3 innings.
- Lipscomb starting pitcher Chris Kachmar picked up the win thanks to six scoreless innings of two-hit, six-strikeout baseball. Alex Dorso worked three scoreless frames to get the save.
The series between Valpo (0-1) and Lipscomb will continue on Saturday in Nashville with the first pitch slated for 2 p.m. CT as Jon Tieman makes his season debut on the mound. A Facebook Live video broadcast will be available courtesy of Lipscomb Athletics. Links to live video and stats are available on ValpoAthletics.com.