Valparaiso University baseball junior Colin Fields (Libertyville, Ill. / Libertyville) etched his name into the program’s history books on Saturday, delivering the eighth no-hitter in program history and first since 1992 to highlight Valpo’s doubleheader sweep of Middle Tennessee. Fields’ magic on the mound helped Valpo blank the Blue Raiders 5-0 in a seven-inning contest in Game 1, before the Brown & Gold prevailed 3-2 in eight innings in Game 2.
“Colin didn’t try to do too much and was himself today,” Valpo head coach Brian Schmack said. “He has shown flashes through his first two outings, but at times he tried to do it all. Today he stayed within himself and saw positive results. I’m extremely happy for him – what an accomplishment.”
Fields became the first Valpo pitcher to heave a no-hitter since March 28, 1992 when Eric Spillers tossed his second no-no of the season against Eastern Illinois. Spillers had thrown a perfect game against Bluffton earlier that month. In addition, Fields became the second Division-I pitcher in the nation to heave a no-hitter this season.
“The feeling on the mound after the game of having my teammates embrace me was a pretty special moment, especially after a couple tough games recently,” Fields said. “To be able to get the win for our team was the most important thing, and to get the no-hitter on top of that was awesome. I was able to locate my fastball better than in my recent starts, and the second and third times through the order, I mixed in my slider more. That two-pitch combo along with an occasional curveball made for a good day.”
How It Happened – Game 1
- Fields issued a leadoff walk to begin the bottom of the first inning, and Middle Tennessee quickly moved the runner into scoring position with a stolen base. The runner tagged on a fly ball and went to third with only one away, but a strikeout and flyout helped Fields put a zero on the board.
- The Valpo right-hander induced three fly ball outs in the bottom of the second, then struck out the side in the third. The 1-2-3 innings kept coming in the fourth and fifth, then the no-hitter watch reached full blast when Fields again sent down the side in order in the sixth, striking out a pair.
- In the meantime, Middle Tennessee starter Peyton Wigginton matched Fields zero for zero through the first five frames until the Valpo bats broke through in the sixth to snap a scoreless tie. Jeremy Drudge (Plymouth, Ind. / Plymouth) was hit by a pitch and Damon Jorgensen (Blair, Neb. / Blair) singled to set up Riley Dent (Long Beach, Calif. / Wilson), who ripped a triple to left center to plate a pair. Later in the inning, Jake Kapers (Schererville, Ind. / Mount Carmel) cracked a double and Dent trotted home to widen the edge to 3-0.
- The top of the seventh saw Valpo add a pair of two-out insurance runs thanks to one swing of the bat by Jorgensen, who clubbed a home run to left center to make it 5-0.
- Fields struck out the leadoff hitter in the seventh, but then issued a walk, snapping a streak of 19 straight retired after the leadoff walk to start the bottom of the first. The righty went on to issue two more walks in the inning, allowing Middle Tennessee to load the bases with two outs. Fields induced a fly ball for the final out of the game, sewing up the program’s first no-hitter in nearly three decades.
Inside the Game – Game 1
- Fields joins a list that also includes Tom Winebrenner (1931), Tim Juran (1970), Matt Rhode (1976), Jamie Macahon (1981), John Grippi (1986) and Spillers (1992, twice), the elite group of Valpo pitchers who have thrown no-hitters.
- Fields became the second pitcher in the nation to throw a no-hitter this season, joining Ohio’s Joe Rock, who tossed seven no-hit frames as part of a doubleheader vs. Morehead State on Feb. 26. Fields’ no-hitter is the third overall in the nation this season as Mississippi State had a combined effort in a nine-inning no-no vs. Kent State on March 7.
- Fields notched the first complete game of his collegiate career and the first by a Valpo pitcher since Zach Fricke on May 11, 2019 vs. Southern Illinois. It was the first shutout by a Valpo pitcher since Ellis Foreman on April 23, 2017 vs. Wright State, and the team’s first shutout since an 8-0 win at SIUE on April 19, 2019.
- Fields racked up 10 strikeouts along the way, his highest single-game strikeout total since his career high of 11 on March 23, 2019 vs. Butler.
- Jorgensen, Kyle Schmack (Wanatah, Ind. / South Central) and Parker Johnson (Golden Valley, Minn. / Hopkins) had two hits apiece. Jorgensen and Schmack have three multi-hit games this year, while Johnson boasted his second in his six starts.
- Jorgensen’s home run was his first of the season and the third of his Valpo career, with both others coming in 2019.
How It Happened – Game 2
- Freshman Kaleb Hannahs (West Terre Haute, Ind. / West Vigo) started the scoring in the second inning when he ripped a home run to left center.
- Valpo starting pitcher Trent Turzenski (Burlington, Wis. / Burlington) picked up where Fields left off with dominant pitching over the first four innings. He allowed a leadoff walk in the opening frame before sending down eight straight. The righty posted goose eggs in each of the first four frames.
- Middle Tennessee took the lead in the fifth by manufacturing two runs on one hit and a hit by pitch to jump up 2-1.
- Hannahs came through again in the top of the sixth, stroking a two-out single to center to drive in Dent and level the score at two.
- Turzenski struck out two more in the seventh while stranding a man at second and putting another zero on the board. The Blue Raiders had the potential winning run in scoring position with two down, but the righty induced a fly ball to send what was scheduled to be a seven-inning affair to extras.
- This year’s NCAA extra-inning format starts with a runner at second base in each half inning. Valpo pushed across that run in the top of the eighth as Dent came through with a two-out single.
- Senior Jon Tieman (Crystal Lake, Ill. / Prairie Ridge) took over for the bottom of the eighth and nailed down the save, striking out a pair while issuing a walk. The Blue Raiders left the potential tying run at third.
Inside the Game – Game 2
- Hannahs’ long ball was his first extra-base hit in a Valpo uniform. He led a quartet of Valpo players with multiple hits that also featured Fitzsimmons, Dent and Jorgensen, who had four combined knocks over the two games in his first appearance back from an injury.
- Turzenski (1-2) struck out eight and issued just one walk while permitting two runs on three hits to earn his first win of the season.
- Tieman reached a significant career milestone, as the game-ending strikeout was the 200th of his career. He became just the 11th player in program history to reach the 200-strikeout precipice and the second to join that club in the last decade along with Dalton Lundeen (2013-2016).
- The save marked the eighth of Tieman’s career and his first since way back in 2017 when he closed out seven games as a true freshman. The fifth-year senior moves into a tie for seventh in program history in career saves, joining Chip Pettit (1993-1996) and teammate Easton Rhodehouse (2017-pres.).
- Valpo swept a doubleheader for the first time since May 13, 2017 at Milwaukee. The one-run win was Valpo’s first since topping Chicago State 4-3 on May 14, 2019. In addition, this marked Valpo’s first extra-inning contest since Feb. 17, 2020 at Western Kentucky, also a victory.
Head Coach Brian Schmack
“We played better than our record would indicate through our first seven games, so I was happy to see our team rewarded with two victories today. Our hitters are getting more comfortable in the box, and our pitching is going to set the tone for us. Today we threw strikes and had good control in the zone. We need our pitching to step up and keep us in games, and today showed what that group is capable of accomplishing.”
Valpo (3-6) and Middle Tennessee (8-5) will lock horns for the finale of the four-game series on Sunday at 1 p.m. CT. The game will air on C-USA TV with links to live video, audio and stats available on ValpoAthletics.com.