March 23, 2021123456789RHE
Notre Dame00020220X670
Win: Will Mercer (1-0) 3.020005
Loss: Rhodehouse (1-1) 1.212232
Hannahs (VALPO) 502000
Niko Kavadas (ND) 322212
Baseball to Meet Nationally-Ranked Notre Dame on Tuesday
Monday, March 22, 2021
Baseball to Meet Nationally-Ranked Notre Dame on Tuesday
Riley Dent hit his first home run of the season in Saturday's win at Western Kentucky. (Chris Kohley, WKU Athletics)

Valparaiso (4-9, 0-0 MVC)
at #14 Notre Dame (9-3, 9-3 ACC)

Frank Eck Stadium (2,500) | Notre Dame, Ind.
Tuesday, March 23, 4 p.m. CT – RHP Zach Fricke

Next Up in Valpo Baseball: The Valparaiso University baseball team will compete in a midweek contest for the first time this season on Tuesday as the squad makes the short trip to the South Bend area to take on nationally-ranked Notre Dame. This marks the first of three meetings this season between Valpo and the No. 14 Fighting Irish.

Last Time Out: Valpo dropped two of three this weekend at Western Kentucky with the Brown & Gold winning the middle game of the series 8-6 in 11 innings. Jon Tieman hurled 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief while yielding just two hits and no walks against five strikeouts to earn the victory. Riley Dent launched a home run in Saturday’s win, while Steven Fitzsimmons drove in the go-ahead run with an 11th-inning single. Damon Jorgensen led the team offensively with multi-hit outputs in each of the three games. The host Hilltoppers won the opener 8-4 and the finale 11-1.

On the Air: This game will air on ACC Network Extra with links to live video and stats available on 

Series Notes: Notre Dame leads 76-21 in the all-time series, which dates all the way back to 1958. Each of the last two matchups have been one-run affairs with Notre Dame winning 4-3 on April 23, 2019 and 6-5 on April 25, 2018. Valpo has lost eight straight head-to-head meetings since a 7-4 triumph on May 2, 2012.

Head Coach Brian Schmack: Brian Schmack, the 17th head baseball coach in Valparaiso University history, is in his eighth season in charge of the program. Entering the 2021 season, he has served as the head coach for 336 games at Valpo, the fourth-most in program history with Tracy Woodson third at 397. This year, he moves into a tie for third in program history for number of seasons coached with eight, matching Donald Warnke (1946-1953). Schmack has now been at Valpo longer than his predecessor Woodson, whose seven-year run lasted from 2007-2013. Schmack’s win total of 137 ranks fifth in program history, with Rick Ferchen fourth at 147. The former big-league pitcher led Valparaiso to 25 wins in his inaugural campaign in 2014, a school record for victories by a first-year skipper. He followed that up with a 22-win season in 2015, then guided the team to its first winning record since 2013 in 2016. In 2017, Schmack continued his success despite managing a youthful roster that featured 11 freshmen and 15 total newcomers. He led his team to 24 wins, including a strong finish to the regular season that saw them win eight of their last 11. The 2018 season saw Valpo transition to the Missouri Valley Conference. The Brown & Gold made an immediate splash in the highly-respected baseball league, putting together a strong showing in the 2018 MVC Tournament, including a 13-10 victory over host Dallas Baptist, a team that went on to receive an at-large NCAA Regional berth. During the 2019 season, Schmack’s squad equaled its win total from the year prior despite playing in a conference that was ranked sixth nationally in RPI and sent three teams to NCAA Regionals. Schmack, a member of the 2003 Detroit Tigers, served as pitching coach/associate head coach at Valpo for seven seasons prior to his promotion.

Valpo vs. Ranked Foes: Valpo will take on a nationally-ranked opponent for the first time this season when it visits No. 14 Notre Dame for a midweek contest on Tuesday. Valpo last faced nationally-ranked competition on Feb. 21-23, 2020 at No. 3 Louisville. The program does have a history of knocking off nationally-ranked Fighting Irish squads as the Brown & Gold beat No. 1 Notre Dame 7-3 on April 25, 2001 to end the team’s 16-game winning streak. In recent years, Valpo has Top-25 wins over No. 25 Illinois (April 17, 2018), No. 25 DBU (March 11, 2016), No. 9 Arizona State (April 21, 2013) and No. 4 Arkansas (Feb. 26, 2012).

Jorgensen Stays Hot: Damon Jorgensen batted .500 (7-for-14) in Valpo’s three-game series this past weekend at Western Kentucky. Jorgensen doubled, homered and totaled 11 bases while compiling a .786 slugging percentage in the series. He had multiple hits in each of the three games in Bowling Green, Ky. and now has five multi-hit outputs in his last six contests. Jorgensen’s three hits on Sunday established his season high and matched a career best. The Valpo shortstop owns a seven-game hitting streak and 10-game on-base streak. Over the team’s last six games, Jorgensen leads the squad in both batting average (.462) and slugging percentage (.731).

Hitting Highs & Bonus Baseball: In Valpo’s 8-6, 11-inning victory at Western Kentucky on Saturday, March 20, the team established season highs in both runs and hits (15). The hit total eclipsed the team’s previous best of 10 on Feb. 27 at Jacksonville State. The 15 hits were the squad’s most since also totaling 15 on Feb. 29, 2020 vs. Southern Miss. The game marked Valpo’s first of 10 or more innings since last year’s trip to Western Kentucky, a 5-3, 10-inning victory in the series finale on Feb. 17. The Brown & Gold did have an “extra-inning” game on March 13 when the nightcap of a doubleheader at Middle Tennessee was slated for seven frames and required eight. The game on Saturday, March 20 marked Valpo’s first that reached the 11th inning since a 14-inning marathon vs. Southern Illinois on May 10, 2019.

Tieman Cracks Top 10: Jon Tieman earned the win in the March 20 extra-inning victory at Western Kentucky by virtue of 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. He yielded two hits and no walks while striking out five. The five punchouts lifted his career total to 205, moving him into the Top 10 in program history in that category. He passed Jim Pomeroy (202, 1996-1999) for 10th.

Valpo’s All-Time Strikeout Leaders

Name                          Years              Strikeouts

Tim Juran                    1969-1972       371

Jon Robisch                1961-1964       294

Dalton Lundeen          2013-2016       275

Jon Gulbransen           2008-2011       264

Shawn Barker             1987-1990       253

Bryce Shafer               2008-2010       250

Tom Starck                 2001-2004       222

Richard Beumer          1959-1962       217

Chuck Donley             1991-1995       212

Jon Tieman                 2017-pres.       205

Jim Pomeroy               1996-1999       202

The 200 Club

  • Valpo fifth-year senior Jon Tieman became just the 11th pitcher in Valpo history to reach the career 200-strikeout milestone on Saturday, March 13 at Middle Tennessee. The milestone came in a significant moment as he struck out the final batter of the bottom of the eighth in a game that was scheduled for seven innings to preserve a 3-2 victory. The Blue Raiders had the potential tying run at third and winning run at second at the time of the strikeout.
  • The right-handed hurler became just the second Valpo player to reach that milestone in the last decade, joining Dalton Lundeen (2013-2016).
  • Tieman ranks in the top 15 nationally for career strikeouts.
  • Tieman led the team in strikeouts three straight years from 2017-2019.

Pitching Probable: RHP Zach Fricke

  • Fricke is expected to make his first start of the season on Tuesday at Notre Dame. He has logged 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief over two appearances out of the bullpen.
  • Fricke’s most recent start came on March 11, 2020 at Alabama State.
  • The right hander made his way into the weekend rotation as a freshman in 2019. He put together a string of three straight wins late in the season in starts against Evansville, Bradley and Southern Illinois, going 3-0 with a 2.14 ERA and opponents hitting .214 against him.
  • That stretch late in the 2019 campaign was highlighted by a complete game victory on May 11 vs. Southern Illinois.
  • Fricke played four years of baseball at Buffalo Grove High School while also playing basketball (three letters) and golf (two letters).
  • His younger brother Tyler is a freshman walk-on for the Valpo men’s basketball program.

In the Other Dugout: Notre Dame

  • This will mark the first nonconference game of the year for the Fighting Irish, who are off to a 9-3 start to ACC play.
  • Notre Dame won two of three this past weekend but dropped the series finale 2-0 vs. Duke.
  • The Fighting Irish prevailed 6-4 in 13 innings in the series opener against the Blue Devils before capturing a 6-2 triumph in the middle game.
  • - Notre Dame is nationally ranked in six polls. They are ranked No. 12 by Baseball America (March 22), No. 14 by D1Baseball (March 22), No. 13 by Perfect Game, No. 18 by USA Today (March 15), No. 23 by Collegiate Baseball (March 15) and No. 24 by NCBWA (March 15). The Fighting Irish are led offensively by Jared Miller, who is hitting .404 with five doubles, three home runs and 11 RBIs. Niko Kavadas is the team’s top run producer with 21 runs driven in thanks in part to seven home runs.
  • Notre Dame was picked seventh of seven in the ACC Atlantic Division Preseason Poll.

No-No Notes

  • Colin Fields threw the eighth no-hitter in Valpo baseball history and first since 1992 in a 5-0, seven-inning victory at Middle Tennessee State in Game 1 of a doubleheader on Saturday, March 13. The previous Valpo no-no came courtesy of Eric Spillers in a 7-0 victory at Eastern Illinois on March 28, 1992. While it was the eighth no-hitter in program history, it was just the sixth no-no as two of the previous no-hitters were not shutouts.
  • The junior right-hander became just 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 on his way to Valpo history, his highest single-game strikeout total since his career high of 11 on March 23, 2019 vs. Butler.
  • After walking the leadoff batter in the bottom of the first, Fields sent down 19 straight Blue Raiders until the bottom of the seventh. He walked three in the final frame but worked out of the bases-loaded jam to cement the slice of Valpo history.
  • Fields accomplished two rare baseball feats in the same game as the third inning of the no-hitter was an “immaculate inning” with all three batters going down on three straight strikes.
  • Fields is a Valpo baseball legacy student-athlete as his father Timm played for Valpo in the late 1980s.

All-Time Valpo Baseball No-Hitters

Player                         Date                            Opponent                               Score

Colin Fields                March 13, 2013           at Middle Tennessee               W 5-0

Eric Spillers                March 28, 1992           at Eastern Illinois                   W 7-0

Eric Spillers                March 6, 1992             vs. Bluffton (perfect game)    W 11-0

John Grippi                 March 24, 1986           at IPFW                                W 4-0

Jamie Macahon           April 25, 1981            Illinois Chicago Circle              W 6-1

Matt Rhode                 March 30, 1976           at Illinois State                      W 1-0

Tim Juran                    April 18, 1970             Indiana                                 W 5-0

Tom Winebrenner       May 16, 1931              Concordia (Fort Wayne)        W 13-1

Earning Accolades

  • After his March 13 no-hitter at Middle Tennessee, Colin Fields was named the Missouri Valley Conference Pitcher of the Week and a Collegiate Baseball Newspaper National Player of the Week.
  • He became the first Valpo player to earn each of those honors since teammate Easton Rhodehouse did so in May 2019.
  • He became the second Valpo pitcher (Rhodehouse) and the third Valpo player (Rhodehouse and Sam Shaikin) to earn an MVC weekly award since the program joined the conference prior to the 2018 season.

Closing Time

  • At the same time he achieved his 200th career strikeout, Jon Tieman nailed down his eighth career save in the 3-2, eight-inning win over Middle Tennessee on March 13.
  • Tieman moved up a place on the program’s all-time saves list, climbing into a tie with Chip Pettit (1993-1996) and teammate Easton Rhodehouse for seventh in Valpo history in career saves.
  • The save marked Tieman’s first save since his freshman season in 2017, when he served as the club’s closer and nailed down seven saves before moving into the rotation late in the year. Tieman’s save on March 13 marked his first since April 8, 2017 vs. Northern Kentucky, a span of 1,435 days.

Position Player Profiles – Projected Lineup Based on Last Game

  • Steven Fitzsimmons, OF, R-Sr. (Golden Valley, Minn. / Robbinsdale Cooper) – Was a member of the 2019 and 2020 MVC Scholar-Athlete First Team… Had a breakout junior season in 2019, playing in 49 of the team’s 50 games and making 45 starts after playing in 16 games and making three starts as a sophomore… Went from a career .195 hitter with one double over his first two seasons to batting .268 with nine doubles as a junior… … Graduated in May 2020 with a 3.96 GPA in political science… Pursuing a master’s in sports administration… Played in 13 games and made 12 starts during the 2020 season… Batted a team-best .308 over the opening series at UAB including a three-hit performance in the Feb. 19 victory. He posted his first game with three or more hits since mid-May 2019 while also scoring a career-high three runs and accounting for half of the team’s hits in the season-opening triumph… Hit a team-best .444 in a three-game series at Alabama State on Feb. 26-27, going 4-for-9 with a .583 on-base percentage.
  • Kyle Schmack, 1B, So. (Wanatah, Ind. / South Central) – After graduating from nearby South Central High School in 2019, Kyle joined his father Brian’s program at Valpo… Is the first Valpo student-athlete to play for his or her parent as a head coach since Bryce Drew in 1998… Was the MVP of the Indiana North/South All-Star Game in June 2019 following his senior year of high school… Also played football during his prep days… Appeared in 20 games and made nine starts during the shortened 2020 season… Reached base three times via a hit and two walks in the Feb. 21 series finale at UAB… Went 5-for-12 (.417) in the three-game series at Alabama State on Feb. 26-27.
  • Riley Dent, OF, R-Sr. (Long Beach, Calif. / Wilson) – Was a 2019 All-MVC Honorable Mention recipient… Entered the 2019 season with a .207 career batting average, but had a breakout year that saw him hit .290 as a junior. Moved to the leadoff spot and transitioned to center field for his junior campaign… Tied for the 2019 team lead with 15 multi-hit outputs… Led the team in batting average at .311 while starting all 16 games in 2020 in addition to ranking second on the team with 11 bases on balls and leading the team in both slugging percentage (.410) and on-base percentage (.417)… Graduated in May 2020 with a degree in marketing and is now enrolled in Valpo’s graduate school… Launched his first home run of the season in a March 20, 2021 victory at Western Kentucky, the second dinger of his career. Ironically, both of his career long balls have come at WKU in separate seasons as he launched the first of his career in a 2020 game in Bowling Green, Ky.
  • Damon Jorgensen, SS, R-Sr. (Blair, Neb. / Blair [Coffeyville]) – Junior college transfer who started his career at Coffeyville before coming to Valpo for the 2019 season… Hobbies include hunting, snowboarding and wakeboarding… Hit his first home run (and extra-base knock) in a Valpo uniform on March 12, 2019 at Tennessee Tech… Drove in the go-ahead run with a bases-loaded squeeze bunt in the top of the 10th of Valpo’s 5-3 victory at Western Kentucky on Feb. 17, 2020. That completed the first three-hit day of his Valpo tenure… Started all 14 games in 2020 and ranked second on the team in batting average at .264… Had two hits in the Saturday game at UAB on Feb. 20, his 10th career multi-hit output… Returned to the lineup and didn’t miss a beat March 12-14 at Middle Tennessee after missing the previous series with an injury. He hit a team-high .375 in the four-game set to go along with a .563 slugging percentage. Launched his first home run of the season and the third of his Valpo career in Game 1 of the doubleheader on March 13… Combined with Jeremy Drudge to hit back-to-back home runs on March 19 at Western Kentucky, his second of the season and the fourth of his collegiate career… Had multiple hits in all three games at Western Kentucky on March 19-21, posting a team-best .500 batting average for the series.
  • Jeremy Drudge, OF/DH, Jr. (Plymouth, Ind. / Plymouth) – Spent the 2019 summer playing for the Normal CornBelters of the Prospect League… Came to Valpo as a rookie in 2019 after seeing limited action as a senior in high school due to a torn ACL… Raced go-karts during his youth…Appeared in 12 games and made 10 starts in 2020, collecting six hits including a triple and a home run… Launched his third career home run (one in each of his three seasons) on Opening Day at UAB, a three-run blow that helped Valpo beat the Blazers 6-2 on Feb. 19… Notched a triple on Feb. 27 at Jacksonville State, his second career three-bagger and the first by a Valpo player this season… Combined with Damon Jorgensen to hit back-to-back home runs on March 19 at Western Kentucky, his third home run of the year and the fifth of his Valpo career.
  • Kaleb Hannahs, 3B, Fr. (West Terre Haute, Ind. / West Vigo) – In a very unusual and possibly even unprecedented occurrence, both of Valpo’s starting corner infielders are the sons of Missouri Valley Conference head baseball coaches… Hannahs’ father Mitch is the head coach at Indiana State… Civil engineering major… Fan of Luke Combs, the St. Louis Cardinals and Fernando Tatis Jr… Three-sport athlete in high school, where he earned four letters apiece in football, basketball and baseball… Had a two-hit day in the Saturday game at UAB on Feb. 20, his first two collegiate knocks on a day where freshmen accounted for four of the team’s eight hits… Ripped his first collegiate home run in the second game of a doubleheader at Middle Tennessee on March 13.
  • Parker Johnson, OF/2B, Fr. (Golden Valley, Minn.) – Also played varsity ice hockey in high school… Played for the Seattle Mariners Midwest Scout Team (Summer and Fall 2019)… Would rather spend a weekend camping than at a resort… Favorite MLB team is the Twins and favorite TV show is Outer Banks… Had a clutch, two-out hit in the top of the ninth on Feb. 26 at Jacksonville State that tied the game. He picked up the first two hits and RBIs of his young Valpo career in that contest… Had a career-high three hits on March 19 at Western Kentucky.
  • Jake Kapers, C, Jr. (Schererville, Ind. / Mount Carmel) – One of three catchers who saw time behind the dish in 2019 in an effort to replace his older brother Scott, who started each of the previous three seasons before leaving a year early to sign with the Texas Rangers after being selected in the 17th round of the 2018 MLB Draft… Hit .357 over the final four games of the 2019 regular season to lead the team during that stretch… Played in 11 games and made 10 starts in 2020… Caught the Colin Fields no-hitter in Game 1 of a doubleheader on March 13 at Middle Tennessee.
  • Alex Thurston, 2B, Fr. (Fowler, Ind. / Benton Central) – Expected to serve as the team’s utility infielder… Finished as the Valedictorian of his high school senior class… Won the 2019 Nanoline Automation National Championship with three classmates after creating an automated paint brush cleaner… Three-year all-conference honoree on the diamond while also playing four years of tennis and one year of basketball in high school… Started two games during Valpo’s opening weekend at UAB, filling in for the injured Nolan Tucker.

Other Key Position Players

  • Jonathan Temple, OF, Sr. (Turlock, Calif. / Turlock [Modesto JC]) – The junior college transfer joined the program for the 2020 season… Attended Oregon State as a freshman…Was named the MVP of the Central California Conference in 2016 after earning first-team all-conference honors in 2015 and second-team all-conference as a sophomore on varsity in 2014… Is from the most agriculturally diverse area in the nation with over 400 commodities grown in the region… Enjoys golfing and snowboarding… Started all 16 games last year during the COVID-19 shortened season and tied for the team lead with three doubles.
  • Nolan Tucker, 2B, So. (Cedar Lake, Ind. / Hanover Central) – Forms an all-local right side of the infield alongside Kyle Schmack… Earned all-conference honors in three high school seasons in baseball and was a two-time conference champion in wrestling… Was the 2019-20 President of Brandt Hall (dorm)… Hobbies include kayaking… Can juggle and walk on his hands… Can drink a bottle of water in 1.5 seconds… Was a three-year class president in high school… Spanked a home run and drove in four in a Feb. 23, 2020 game at No. 3 Louisville. He had three hits while becoming the first Valpo freshman with a four-RBI game since Grant Yoder on April 24, 2012 at Purdue Fort Wayne (then IPFW)… Collected 10 hits and drove in six runs during the 2020 campaign… Played in the Collegiate Summer Baseball Invitational on June 4, 2020 on ESPN2 in the first live baseball event since the pandemic.
  • Angel DiFederico, C, So. (New Haven, Ind. / New Haven) – Projected to share starting catching duties with Kapers… Earned a spot in the 2019 North/South All-Star Game after his senior year at New Haven in Indiana… Had the highest batting average on the team in a limited sample size in 2020, hitting .348 in seven games (six starts).
  • Brady Renfro, 1B/DH, Fr. (Antigo, Wis. / Antigo) – Exercise science major… Is an only child… Hobbies include hunting and fishing… Favorite MLB player is Clayton Kershaw and team is the Milwaukee Brewers… Played with STiKS Baseball Academy and the Chicago Scouts Association.
  • Alex Ryan, OF/DH, Fr. (Lake Mills, Wis. / Lakeside Lutheran) – Made his first career start at DH in the series finale at UAB… Three-time all-conference pick in high school… Milwaukee Brewers fans… Has a twin sister, Olivia… Hobbies include hiking and playing card games.

Bullpen Bits

  • RHP Jon Tieman, R-Sr. (Crystal, Lake, Ill. / Prairie Ridge) – Three-time MVC Scholar-Athlete First Team, 2018 All-MVC Honorable Mention selection, 2017 Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Freshman All-American… Racked up 78 strikeouts to lead the team in 2019, the most by a Valpo pitcher since 2015… Led the team in strikeouts for three consecutive seasons (2017-2019), becoming the second consecutive Valpo pitcher to do so as Dalton Lundeen led the team in that area from 2014-2016. Before Lundeen, the last pitcher to lead Valpo in strikeouts in three straight years was Shawn Barker from 1988-1990… Has lived in Missouri, Georgia and Illinois… Logged three innings over two appearances during the opening weekend of the season at UAB … Took the defeat on Feb. 26 at Jacksonville State, allowing a run on one hit in 2/3 of an inning… Nailed down the eighth save of his collegiate career and first since his freshman year of 2017 in Game 2 of the March 13 doubleheader at Middle Tennessee. The strikeout that secured a 3-2, extra-inning victory for the Brown & Gold was the 200th of his career, making him the 11th member of the program’s 200-strikeout club… Earned the victory with 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief and struck out five to move into the Top 10 in program history in career strikeouts on March 20 at Western Kentucky.
  • LHP Jake Miller, R-Fr. (Chester, N.Y. / Don Bosco Prep) – Was a 2018 Rawlings Perfect Game Preseason All-American… Is just the second Valpo player to hail from the state of New York since 2005, joining Zack Leone… Redshirted last season in his first year on campus.
  • RHP Nathan Chasey, Jr. (Ames, Iowa / Gilbert [Indian Hills CC] – Joined the program for the 2021 season after two years of JUCO baseball… NJCAA Region 11 Honorable Mention in 2019… Enjoys fishing… Favorite MLB team is the Atlanta Braves and player is Chipper Jones… Worked three scoreless innings in relief in the series finale on March 14 at Middle Tennessee, extending his scoreless innings streak to six over his first four appearances of the season.
  • RHP Nolan Lebamoff, Jr. (Fort Wayne, Ind. / Carroll [Kankakee CC]) – Joined the program for the 2021 season as a JUCO transfer… Majoring in political science… 2019 Second Team All-Region Four NJCAA… 2019 Kankakee CC Pitcher of the Year… Tied for third in the nation in NJCAA D-II in saves in 2019… Finished third on Kankakee’s all-time saves list.

Inside the Assistants: Brian Schmack’s staff will have a familiar feel in 2021 as all four coaches return from the 2020 campaign.  

  • After spending three seasons as a volunteer assistant, Kory Winter was hired as Schmack’s top assistant and hitting coach beginning with the 2019 campaign. Winter played collegiately at Wittenberg and has completed coaching stints at Muskingum University and Shippensburg University. He is also Valpo’s outfield instructor.
  • Casey Fletcher is in his third year as an assistant coach. He spent the previous two seasons at Illinois, where he was a volunteer assistant. Prior to joining the Fighting Illini staff, Fletcher played professionally for two seasons with the Joliet Slammers of the Frontier League. He enjoyed a prosperous collegiate playing career that featured two seasons as an All-Big Ten honoree at Illinois (2014-2015) and helped Illinois to the NCAA Super Regional for the first time in program history by hitting .326 with 48 runs, three homers and 33 RBIs as a senior. Fletcher was an outfielder in college before moving to catcher in the professional ranks. His father Darrin played in the big leagues from 1989-2002 with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies, Montreal Expos and Toronto Blue Jays. His grandfather Tom also reached the big leagues with the Detroit Tigers in 1962 and his great grandfather Glenn spent 10 seasons in the minor leagues.
  • A familiar name to Valpo fans took over as the volunteer assistant coach prior to the 2020 season. Sam Shaikin spent the previous four years on the left side of Valpo’s infield while earning a degree in business management from the University in 2019. He clubbed 21 home runs and drove in 106 over 187 career games. Shaikin finished ninth in program history in runs scored with 133, while his home run total ranks tied for ninth. He had a propensity for drawing walks during his playing days, ranking third all-time with 104 bases on balls. Shaikin, who ranks fifth in program history with 392 assists, is the team’s infield coach.