The Valparaiso University baseball team rallied to tie the game in the top of the ninth on Friday at Jim Case Stadium in Jacksonville, Ala., but host Jacksonville State responded with a run in the bottom of the frame to walk off with a 5-4 victory. A clutch, two-out hit by Parker Johnson (Golden Valley, Minn. / Hopkins) tied the game in the top of the ninth, but the Gamecocks (2-3) used their own piece of two-out hitting to win the game on a Jay Williams single.
How It Happened
- The top of the first started with two outs and the bases clear, but Valpo produced a run as Riley Dent (Long Beach, Calif. / Wilson) walked, stole second and scampered home when Kyle Schmack (Wanatah, Ind. / South Central) rammed a single to right.
- A sacrifice fly in the bottom of the inning leveled the score, and it remained 1-1 until the third, when a Tre Kirklin triple was at the heart of a two-run frame for Jacksonville State.
- The next scoring came in the top of the fifth when Johnson drove in a run with a single, but Valpo made an out on the base paths and Jacksonville State escaped the inning with a 3-2 edge.
- Another Jacksonville State sacrifice fly in the seventh made it 4-2, setting the stage for the ninth-inning uprising. Schmack smacked a single to right center to start the inning before Steven Fitzsimmons (Golden Valley, Minn. / Robbinsdale Cooper) was hit by a pitch. A sac bunt moved the tying run into scoring position, then a walk packed the sacks for Alex Thurston (Fowler, Ind. / Benton Central), who drove in a run with a fielder’s choice on which no out was recorded as Schmack hustled home.
- Johnson lashed a base hit to left to create a 4-4 deadlock, but the Gamecocks retired the side without further damage and pushed across a run in the bottom of the ninth for a 5-4 victory.
Inside the Game
- This marked Valpo’s first one-run game of the year after the team dropped both of its one-run affairs a year ago and went 3-7 in games decided by the slimmest of margins in 2019.
- Johnson and Schmack each enjoyed multi-hit days, while Dent worked two walks. Johnson picked up the first two hits and RBIs of his young Valpo career.
- On the mound, Easton Rhodehouse (Gilbert, Ariz. / Highland)worked the first two innings and permitted one run before Ryan Mintz (Lombard, Ill. / Willowbrook) allowed three runs (two earned) on two hits in 4 1/3 frames. Jon Tieman (Crystal Lake, Ill. / Prairie Ridge) was hit with the defeat, his first decision of the season, after allowing a run on a hit and two walks in the ninth.
Valpo (1-3) will attempt to bounce back as the two teams engage in a doubleheader on Saturday starting at 1 p.m. CT. No live video will be available, but a link to live stats can be found on ValpoAthletics.com.