The Valparaiso University baseball team fell 11-4 to Missouri State on Friday night at Hammons Field in Springfield despite eight of the nine batters in the Valpo lineup recording hits and the two teams collecting 10 hits apiece. Valpo is now locked into the No. 7 seed for the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament and will play sixth-seeded Missouri State in the opening round on Tuesday at Illinois State regardless of the results on Saturday’s final day of the regular season.
How It Happened
- The Bears scored three times in the first thanks to two walks, a single and a two-run homer by Brooks Zimmerman.
- Valpo scored its first run of the game in the third inning when Damon Jorgensen (Blair, Neb. / Blair [Coffeyville]) spanked a double to left, then Jeremy Drudge (Plymouth, Ind. / Plymouth) bounced an RBI single through the left side of the infield. That cut Missouri State’s lead to 3-1.
- The Bears scored three times in the bottom of the third despite starting the inning with two outs and nobody on. They did the damage thanks to three walks, a single and an error.
- Missouri State added one in the fourth as Mason Hull led off with a triple and eventually scored.
- Riley Dent (Long Beach, California / Wilson) made a highlight-reel catch in the fifth inning, sprinting toward center before diving to take a base hit away from Ben Whetstone. That play helped starting pitcher Zach Fricke (Arlington Heights, Ill. / Buffalo Grove) work a scoreless fifth.
- Valpo scored a pair in the seventh thanks to four straight reaching base at the bottom of the order. Drudge and Jake Kapers (Schererville, Ind. / Mount Carmel) both had run-scoring singles as part of the uprising. Valpo had men at second and third with one away and a chance to move closer, but the Bears wiggled out of the frame with the 7-3 lead intact.
- Drew Millas homered as part of a three-run bottom of the seventh for Missouri State, extending the lead to 10-3.
- Steven Fitzsimmons (Golden Valley, Minn. / Robbinsdale Cooper) grounded one just out of the reach of the Missouri State second baseman that went for a double to shallow right center, driving in a run to make it 10-4 in the eighth.
- A solo homer by Jack Duffy to lead off the bottom of the eighth made it 11-4.
- Valpo loaded the bases in the ninth but did not score.
Inside the Game
- Jorgensen’s double was his fourth of the season and his second extra-base hit of this series after a home run on Thursday. Jorgensen later walked twice and scored two runs in the game.
- Drudge enjoyed his third multi-hit game of the season while posting the first multi-RBI game of his career by driving in a pair.
- Fitzsimmons also had two hits, his eighth multi-hit day of the year. His double was his ninth of the season, moving him into second on the team behind only Billinger (12).
- The Kapers RBI was his third of the season.
- The two teams were even in the hit column with each team notching 10 knocks. Eight of the nine Valpo batters in the lineup had at least one hit in Friday’s game.
- Fricke allowed seven runs (six earned) on five hits and five walks over his five innings and took the defeat, ending his three-game winning streak.
Valpo (14-34, 6-14 MVC) and Missouri State (18-34, 9-11 MVC) will round out the three-game set on Saturday. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+. Please note that the start time has been moved up two hours due to the weather forecast, so the game will now begin at noon.