Junior Jeremy Drudge (Plymouth, Ind. / Plymouth) clubbed his second home run of the season, but the Valparaiso University baseball team was on the wrong side of a 5-2 score on Friday afternoon at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Valpo returned to the diamond after a weekend off, competing in its first game since Feb. 27.
How It Happened
- Fifth-year senior Easton Rhodehouse (Gilbert, Ariz. / Highland) opened the game on the mound for Valpo and was sharp through his two innings. He faced the minimum and struck out the final four batter he opposed, striking out the side in the second frame. The lone baserunner Rhodehouse allowed was a leadoff hit by pitch to begin the first, and that was quickly erased on a caught stealing by catcher Jake Kapers (Schererville, Ind. / Mount Carmel).
- Middle Tennessee got on the board in the third as JT Mabry singled to drive in Luke Vinson, part of a three-hit inning that led to one run.
- Riley Dent (Long Beach, Calif. / Wilson) legged out a ground ball on the infield in the top of the fourth for a Valpo baserunner. He continued to use his speed as he swiped both second and third, but he was left stranded 90 feet away as Middle Tennessee kept its 1-0 lead intact.
- The Blue Raiders added three in the fifth, a frame highlighted by a two-run Fausto Lopez double, to expand the lead to 4-0. Vinson singled to right in the sixth to up the lead to five.
- Drudge crushed a home run to left for Valpo’s first hit of the day in the top of the seventh, putting the Brown & Gold on the board and cutting the Middle Tennessee lead to 5-1.
- Valpo started the top of the ninth with a walk by Steven Fitzsimmons (Golden Valley, Minn. / Robbinsdale Cooper) and a single by Damon Jorgensen (Blair, Neb. / Blair [Coffeyville]). Fitzsimmons eventually crossed the dish for the second Valpo run of the day on a deep fly ball to right by Jonathan Temple (Turlock, Calif. / Turlock [Modesto JC]) that went for a sacrifice fly.
Inside the Game
- Drudge’s home run was his second of the season and the fourth of his Valpo career. He has the most career home runs of any Valpo player and accounts for both of the team’s round-trippers this season.
- Rhodehouse struck out four in his two frames of work, lifting his season total to eight in just seven innings. He has fanned 127 in his Valpo career.
- Ryan Mintz (Lombard, Ill. / Willowbrook) struck out five and walked just one over his five innings, but he took the defeat for his first decision of the year. The righty is up to a team-high 13 strikeouts this season.
- Temple’s RBI marked his fourth of the season, while Drudge’s represented his team-leading fifth.
- Valpo pitching struck out nine, the fifth time in seven games this season that Valpo hurlers have fanned nine or more.
Valpo (1-6) and Middle Tennessee (8-3) will play two on Saturday with the first game of the twinbill slated for 1 p.m. CT. The games will air on C-USA TV with links to live video, audio and stats available on ValpoAthletics.com.