The Valparaiso University baseball team built up a 4-0 lead on Friday afternoon in Indianapolis, but host Butler rallied for a 5-4, extra-inning victory at Bulldog Park. Brady Renfro (Antigo, Wis. / Antigo) drilled his first collegiate home run, while starter Easton Rhodehouse (Gilbert, Ariz. / Highland) mowed down nine straight over three perfect innings.
How It Happened
- Valpo jumped in front right away thanks to a two-out, run-scoring hit by Jeremy Drudge (Plymouth, Ind. / Plymouth) in the top of the first.
- Rhodehouse struck out four of the nine batters who opposed him in his three quality innings to keep the 1-0 lead intact.
- The fourth inning started favorably for the Brown & Gold as Renfro belted a home run to right. Later in the inning, an RBI triple by Steven Fitzsimmons (Golden Valley, Minn. / Robbinsdale Cooper) expanded the edge to 3-0, then Fitzsimmons scooted home on a sacrifice fly by Kyle Schmack (Wanatah, Ind. / South Central) to build the lead to four.
- Aaron Steinhart drilled a two-run homer in the fourth to slice the Butler deficit in half. The Bulldogs (4-5) manufactured a sixth-inning run to make it 4-3, then Robbie McCargar tied the game with one swing as he drilled a seventh-inning longball.
- Nathan Chasey (Ames, Iowa / Gilbert [Indian Hills CC]) came on to pitch for Valpo and did his job, putting two significant zeros on the board in the eighth and ninth to help get the game to extras.
- Valpo had two on with two down in the top of the 10th but did not score, then an unearned run led to a tough-luck loss for Jon Tieman (Crystal Lake, Ill. / Prairie Ridge) in the bottom of the 10th as the game-ending tally scored on an error.
Inside the Game
- Renfro’s home run was the first of his collegiate career as he became the fifth different Valpo player to homer this season.
- Fitzsimmons had his first triple of the year and his fifth in a Valpo uniform. He also notched his 26th career RBI and third of the year.
- Drudge continues to hold the team lead in the RBI department as he has now knocked in 11 this season. The junior is up to 22 RBIs in his time at Valpo.
- Fitzsimmons and Drudge recorded two hits apiece, Drudge’s second multi-hit game of the year and Fitzsimmons’ fifth.
- Fitzsimmons has reached base safely in 12 consecutive games.
- Rhodehouse improved his strikeout-to-walk ratio to 20:4 in 14 2/3 innings this season.
- Valpo fell to 2-1 in extra innings and 1-1 in one-run games. This marked the team’s third straight weekend series with at least one extra-inning affair.
Valpo (4-11) and Butler will clash in a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 11 a.m. CT. No broadcast coverage is available, but links to live stats of both games can be found on ValpoAthletics.com.