The Valparaiso University baseball team received consistent offense throughout the day on Saturday, fending off Lipscomb 8-6 in Nashville, Tenn. to enter the win column and force a rubber match in the season-opening series. Leadoff man Riley Dent (Long Beach, Calif. / Wilson) had a career day, racking up three hits, three RBIs, one walk and two runs scored.
How It Happened
- Valpo got on the scoreboard for the first time this season in the opening inning as Dent set the tone by lashing a leadoff double down the left-field line and eventually came around to score on a bouncer to short by Sam Shaikin (West Hills, Calif. / Chatsworth).
- Later in the inning, Blake Billinger (Los Gatos, Calif. / St. Francis [Mission]) drilled a triple to left center to drive in a run and make it 2-0 Valpo.
- Lipscomb packed the sacks with nobody out in the bottom of the first, but Jon Tieman (Crystal Lake, Ill. / Prairie Ridge) used a double play and a strikeout to escape the jam with just one run allowed.
- Valpo got that run right back in the top of the second inning, and Dent once again played a role. This time the Valpo junior ripped a single up the middle to drive in Patrick Donohue (Arlington Heights, Ill. / Prospect), who had walked and stole second. Chase Dawson (Chesterton, Ind. / Andrean) belted the team’s second triple of the game, scoring Dent to make it 4-1 Valpo.
- For the third straight inning, Valpo scored a pair of runs in the top of the third. Dent was yet again the key man in the frame, as he banged a two-out single to left to drive home two and make it 6-1 Valpo.
- Valpo made it four innings in a row with exactly two runs in the fourth, as Billinger doubled and scored before Louie Baker (Gold Coast, Australia [Scottsdale CC]) drove in a run with a groundout.
- Lipscomb cut the lead to five in the bottom of the fifth as Chris Bashlor came through with a two-out single that drove in two and made it 8-3.
- Lefty Jarrett Hammel (Brook, Ind. / South Newton [Saint Joseph’s College]) made his season debut on Saturday. He did not allow a run over his first three innings of work, but permitted back-to-back walks with two outs in the bottom of the ninth before an RBI double by David Graves cut the Valpo lead to 8-4.
- Jim Jarecki (New Berlin, Wis. / Marquette [Heartland / Bradley]) made his Valpo debut with two outs in the ninth, but walked the first two men he faced to force in a run and make it 8-5. A wild pitch allowed the Bisons (1-1) to pull within two, but Jarecki struck out the game’s final batter to record the save.
Inside the Game
- Billinger’s triple was the first of his Valpo career as he did not triple in 53 games and 220 at-bats last season.
- This marked the first time Valpo had multiple triples in the same game since lashing three on May 21, 2016 vs. Youngstown State. James Stea, Nolan Lodden and Jeff Edwards all tripled in that game.
- Dawson’s triple was the ninth of his career, moving him into the Top 10 in program history for career triples. He now ranks tied for 10th, joining Todd Kirkpatrick (1983, 1985-87) and J.J. Swiatkowski (1997-2000).
- Dent matched a career high with three hits on Saturday, the second three-hit performance of his career and the first since April 8, 2017 against Northern Kentucky. Saturday marked the first multi-RBI game of his collegiate career.
- Lipscomb starter Noah Thompson (0-1) lasted just 2 1/3 innings and allowed six runs (five earned) on five hits and three walks. Thompson was an ASUN All-Freshman Team honoree last season and had the best ERA by a freshman in the conference.
- Tieman (1-0) permitted three runs on six hits and two walks while striking out three over five innings in his 2019 debut.
The series finale between Valpo and Lipscomb is slated for Sunday afternoon at Dugan Field. The game is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. CT with freshman Colin Fields making his collegiate debut on the mound for Valpo. A Facebook Live video feed will be available courtesy of Lipscomb Athletics. Links to live video and stats are available on ValpoAthletics.com.