The Valparaiso University baseball team took the lead thanks to back-to-back home runs in the fourth inning, but host Western Kentucky eventually came away with an 8-4 victory on Friday evening at Nick Denes Field in Bowling Green, Ky. Parker Johnson (Golden Valley, Minn. / Hopkins) paced the guests with a three-hit contest, while Damon Jorgensen (Blair, Neb. / Blair [Coffeyville]) chipped in a pair of base knocks.
How It Happened
- Western Kentucky jumped on the board with a sacrifice fly by Jack Wilson in the opening inning. After the single tally in the first, Easton Rhodehouse (Gilbert, Ariz. / Highland) put up a zero in the second and Ryan Mintz (Lombard, Ill. / Willowbrook) did the same in each of his first three frames.
- Back-to-back jacks helped Valpo jump in front in the top of the fourth inning. Jorgensen crushed a big fly to right center before Jeremy Drudge (Plymouth, Ind. / Plymouth) pounded one to straight away right to put the Brown & Gold on top 2-1.
- The Valpo edge expanded to two in the top of the fifth when Johnson singled and eventually trotted home on a base knock by Riley Dent (Long Beach, Calif. / Wilson).
- The Hilltoppers got two in the sixth to tie the game and then grabbed the lead with three in the seventh, a frame highlighted by a go-ahead, two-run bomb by Jackson Gray.
- Western Kentucky pushed across two insurance tallies in the bottom of the eighth before Kaleb Hannahs (West Terre Haute, Ind. / West Vigo) led off the top of the ninth with a single through the right side and eventually dashed home on a wild pitch, a run that accounted for the final margin.
Inside the Game
- The Jorgensen home run was his second of the season and the fourth of his Valpo career, while Drudge roped his third dinger of the year and the fifth of his Valpo tenure.
- Valpo was outhit by the narrow count of 10-9, but Western Kentucky pitching totaled 17 strikeouts against just one walk.
- Johnson’s three hits represented a career high for his young Valpo tenure. The rookie secured his third multi-hit game of the year.
- Jorgensen’s two-hit day accounted for his team-leading fourth multi-hit performance this spring.
- Drudge’s RBI on his round-tripper was his team-leading sixth of the season. He also leads the team in total bases with 18
- Nathan Chasey (Ames, Iowa / Gilbert [Indian-Hills CC]) retired the only man he faced out of the Valpo bullpen, extending his scoreless innings streak to 6 1/3 over five appearances this year.
Valpo (3-8) and Western Kentucky (9-8) will face off on Saturday at 1 p.m. in the middle game of the weekend series. Links to live audio and stats can be found on ValpoAthletics.com.