The Valparaiso University baseball team put together a solid team effort on Saturday afternoon, coming away with a 5-2 victory over Bradley at Dozer Park. Valpo manufactured its runs with a balanced offensive attack and timely hitting, while the pitching staff did its job for the second straight day and has allowed just four runs in the series.
How It Happened
- For the second consecutive game, Valpo jumped on the board in the opening inning. Chase Dawson (Chesterton, Ind. / Andrean) ripped a two-out single to left, then Blake Billinger (Los Gatos, Calif. / St. Francis [Mission]) pulled a two-bagger into the left-field corner to put his team ahead.
- Bradley leveled the score in the bottom of the first as Dan Bolt lifted a sacrifice fly. The Braves settled for one run despite starting the frame with men at first and third and nobody out.
- Jean-Francois Garon picked up an RBI single in the third to put Bradley in front, but the Braves stranded the bases loaded.
- Valpo wrestled the lead back in the fifth, an inning that started with a walk by Damon Jorgensen (Blair, Neb. / Blair [Coffeyville]) followed by a Jeremy Drudge (Plymouth, Ind. / Plymouth) double. Both players crossed the dish on RBI grounders by Riley Dent (Long Beach, Calif. / Wilson) and Jake Kapers (Schererville, Ind. / Mount Carmel) to make it 3-2 Valpo.
- Valpo tacked on two in the sixth, an inning that featured a pair of bunt singles. The second of those came courtesy of Jorgensen with the bases loaded to drive in a run. Drudge contributed to another run-scoring frame in the sixth, lifting a sacrifice fly that made it 5-2.
- Valpo starting pitcher Zach Fricke (Arlington Heights, Ill. / Buffalo Grove) allowed just two runs on seven hits and three walks over 5 1/3 innings. He worked a 1-2-3 second and also put up zeros in the fourth and fifth frames.
- Montana Quigley (Lake Forest, Calif. / El Toro) was summoned from the bullpen with two on and one away in the sixth and induced a 5-4-3 double play from the first batter he faced to keep Valpo in front 5-2.
- Quigley worked himself in and out of trouble in the seventh as he came up with a timely strikeout followed by a fly ball that caused Bradley to strand the bases full with nothing across. He followed that frame by sending down the side in order in the eighth.
- Easton Rhodehouse (Gilbert, Ariz. / Highland) came on to pitch the bottom of the ninth and nailed down his third save with a perfect inning.
Inside the Game
- Billinger’s RBI was his team-leading 32nd of the season, while Dawson scored his team-leading 29th and 30th runs. Dawson is up to 136 career runs scored, eighth in program history. Dawson and Billinger turned in two hits apiece to lead the offense.
- Kapers’ RBI was his second of the season and first since April 6. He continued a strong weekend after racking up two hits in the opener.
- The Drudge double was his fourth of the year, while the RBI was his fifth and the run scored his third. The sac fly was the first of his career. Drudge has been hot of late and is hitting .280 in MVC play.
- Quigley worked 2 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing no hits and just one walk. He has not allowed a run over his last five outings spanning nine innings.
- A week after picking up his first career victory, Fricke (2-3) doubled his win total on Saturday.
Valpo (10-30, 3-11) and Bradley (28-14, 8-6) will round out the series with a noon start on Sunday at Dozer Park. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.