The Valparaiso University baseball team’s bullpen did a quality job of keeping the squad within striking distance, but a four-run first inning for Middle Tennessee State held up as the Blue Raiders collected a 5-0 victory in Murfreesboro, Tenn. on Sunday afternoon. The hosts salvaged a split in the weekend series after Valpo swept Saturday’s doubleheader.
How It Happened
- The first three batters reached for Middle Tennessee, and Easton Rhodehouse (Gilbert, Ariz. / Highland) was summoned from the bullpen in a challenging spot with the bases juiced and nobody out in the bottom of the first.
- All three inherited runners came around to score, and by the time the third out of the frame was recorded, the Blue Raiders held a 4-0 edge.
- When given the chance to start a clean frame, Rhodehouse bounced back to work a scoreless second. His exit gave way for Nathan Chasey (Ames, Iowa / Gilbert [Indian-Hills CC]), who worked three shutout frames while scattering three hits, issuing one walk and striking out five.
- Nolan Lebamoff (Fort Wayne, Ind. / Carroll [Kankakee CC]) yielded a single tally over his two innings, then Alex Rodriguez (Bourbonnais, Ill. / Bradley-Bourbonnais) flipped a scoreless bottom of the eighth in his second collegiate appearance.
- While Valpo pitching and defense settled in after the shaky start, the offense was held in check throughout the day. Middle Tennessee starter Zach Keenan permitted just three hits over eight scoreless frames while striking out 11 and walking none. Valpo had just four hits for the contest and Blue Raider pitching issued no walks.
Inside the Game
- Valpo was shut out for the first time this season as each team recorded a whitewash in this series with those games decided by identical scores of 5-0. This marked the first time Valpo was held off the scoreboard since March 8, 2020 at Georgia Southern.
- All four Valpo hits were singles.
- Chasey extended his scoreless streak to six innings over four appearances as he has not permitted a run this season. The right-handed junior college transfer has allowed just five hits and one walk while striking out 11.
- Valpo pitching allowed five runs or fewer in all four games of the weekend series and has done so in seven out of 10 games so far this season.
Valpo (3-7) will continue its tour of Conference USA this coming weekend with a visit to Bowling Green, Ky. to take on Western Kentucky. The three-game series is slated to begin at 5 p.m. on Friday.