Seniors Easton Rhodehouse (Gilbert, Ariz. / Highland) and Jon Tieman (Crystal Lake, Ill. / Prairie Ridge) were a winning combination on the hill for the second straight weekend, pitching the Valparaiso University baseball team to a 5-1 Senior Day victory in Game 1 of a doubleheader on Saturday at Emory G. Bauer Field. Visiting Evansville bounced back to earn the split with a 12-9 triumph in Game 2.
Another senior was one of the offensive stars of the day as Jonathan Temple (Turlock, Calif. / Turlock [Modesto JC]) launched a home run in each game and three of his four hits went for extra bases. The seven-member senior class was recognized during an on-field ceremony between games of the double dip.
How It Happened – Game 1
- Neither team scored over the first two innings, and Rhodehouse posted another zero in the top of the third. The righty opened the game with three innings of two-hit ball, working around two walks while keeping the Purple Aces off the scoreboard.
- In the bottom of the third, the Brown & Gold struck first as Kaleb Hannahs (West Terre Haute, Ind. / West Vigo) ripped a single to left and Riley Dent (Long Beach, Calif. / Wilson) followed with a two-run base knock to right.
- Tieman spelled his five-year teammate on the mound for the top of the fourth, and the righty went on to twirl four strong innings while yielding one run on three hits with two walks and five strikeouts.
- Temple played a key role as Valpo added on in both the fifth and sixth innings. He drilled a home run to left center in the fifth to make it 4-0, then clubbed a double down the left-field line that expanded the edge to five in the sixth.
- Evansville’s only run came on a seventh-inning sacrifice fly.
How It Happened – Game 2
- Evansville scored twice in the first, but Valpo evened the game in the second as Kyle Schmack (Wanatah, Ind. / South Central) and Jonathan Temple (Turlock, Calif. / Turlock [Modesto JC]) both launched solo shots.
- The 2-2 deadlock lasted until the fifth inning, when Evansville scored four. The Aces added four more in the sixth and one in the seventh to take an 11-2 lead.
- Valpo battled back in the game’s late stages, putting together a five-run eighth inning to claw back into the game. Parker Johnson (Golden Valley, Minn. / Hopkins), Angel DiFederico (New Haven, Ind. / New Haven), Temple, Alex Thurston (Fowler, Ind. / Benton Central) and Hannahs all drove in runs in that inning.
- Evansville picked up an insurance run in the top of the ninth, but Valpo made it interesting in the bottom of the frame none the less. The Brown & Gold brought the tying run to the plate in a game they had trailed by nine runs as late as the eighth inning, and it was the hot-hitting Temple who represented the tying tally with the bags full and Valpo down 12-8. However, Evansville induced a double play before recording the third and final out of the inning to hold on for the 12-9 win.
Inside the Games
- On a day where the seniors played a key role, Damon Jorgensen (Blair, Neb. / Blair [Coffeyville]) contributed to the ninth-inning uprising by lashing a single and scoring a run. The pinch-hit appearance held added significance as it marked his first action since April 23 due to an injury.
- Speaking of senior contributions, the only Valpo pitcher who did not yield a run in the second game was left-hander Josh Currier (Mokena, Ill. / Lincoln Way Central), who tossed a scoreless eighth.
- With his two long balls on Saturday, Temple joined Dent as the only Valpo players with five or more this season.
- Thurston collected a team-high three hits in Game 2 and was one of four Valpo players with multi-hit efforts as the club outhit Evansville 15-12. In the opener, Hannahs and Temple led the way with two hits apiece.
- Rhodehouse was awarded his 11th career win in Game 1 to up his season record to 4-3, while Tieman nailed down his third save of the year and the 10th of his collegiate career. He is now tied with Dallas Cawiezell for sixth in program history in career saves with 10.
- The Game 1 win allowed Brian Schmack to reach a significant milestone as he became just the fourth head coach in program history to garner his 150th career win. He joins Paul Twenge (1988-2006), Emory G. Bauer (1954-1981) and Tracy Woodson (2007-2013).
- With the triumph in the opener, Valpo clinched a winning record at home. This marks the fifth time in the last six seasons and the 12th time in the last 14 campaigns that the program has finished with a winning mark at Emory G. Bauer Field.
Valpo (14-28, 9-14) and Evansville (25-24, 8-14) will close out the series on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Emory G. Bauer Field, the final home game for the Brown & Gold this season. A link to live stats can be found on ValpoAthletics.com.