It was an old-fashioned pitchers’ duel on Friday afternoon at Dozer Park as the Valparaiso University baseball team came up just shy in a 2-1 defeat to host Bradley. Valpo starting pitcher Jon Tieman (Crystal Lake, Ill. / Prairie Ridge) was masterful in an eight-inning complete game, but took a tough-luck loss on a day where all of the scoring came in the first inning.
How It Happened
- Valpo pushed across a run in the opening frame as Riley Dent (Long Beach, Calif. / Wilson) singled up the middle on the first pitch of the game, then eventually crossed the plate when Blake Billinger (Los Gatos, Calif. / St. Francis [Mission]) looped a single to the opposite field.
- Bradley got two runs back in the bottom of the first as Dan Bolt banged a run-scoring triple high off the wall before Connor O’Brien stroked a run-scoring single to allow the hosts to take a 2-1 lead.
- After that, the game took on a true Friday feel, as the teams’ respective pitchers traded zero for zero. Tieman allowed only a walk in the second and just a single in the third before working a 1-2-3 fourth.
- Tieman utilized help from catcher Jake Kapers (Schererville, Ind. / Mt. Carmel) to turn in a scoreless fifth as Kapers moved to 2-for-2 on the day in catching would-be base stealers. The sixth inning saw Tieman yield a two-out double but nothing else. In the seventh, the Valpo righty struck out two and sent down the Braves in order. The junior followed that by putting up another zero in the eighth to cap his 119-pitch outing.
- Tieman was matched by Bradley ace Mitch Janssen, who also did not yield a run after the first inning and pitched through the seventh. The Braves hurler racked up 11 strikeouts before departing prior to the eighth.
- Valpo had the potential tying run 90 feet away after being on the receiving end of two walks and a hit batter in the top of the ninth. However, the Braves escaped the jam and nailed down the win.
Inside the Game
- Tieman (2-8) became the first Valpo pitcher to throw a complete game this season. It was the third of his collegiate career as he went the distance twice a year ago, in those cases going all nine innings in wins at Evansville and Illinois State. He scattered six hits and struck out seven while walking two.
- Valpo outhit Bradley 7-6 and Bradley pitching allowed four free passes to two yielded by Valpo pitching.
- Bradley’s Bolt accounted for both of his team’s extra-base hits with a double and a triple.
- Kapers had his best day of the year, going 2-for-3 with a two-bagger to go along with his two runners caught stealing. The double was the second of his collegiate career, while this marked his first career multi-hit output.
- This was Valpo’s seventh one-run game of the year and the team’s sixth one-run defeat.
- The game required just two hours, 12 minutes to complete.
Valpo (9-30, 2-11) and Bradley (28-13, 8-5) will play Game 2 in the series on Saturday at noon at Dozer Park. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.