April 12, 2022123456789RHE
Eastern Illinois10302001X7122
Win: HICKMAN (2-0) 5.041103
Loss: Lockwood (0-4) 4.286543
Thurston (VALPO) 502100
Drudge (VALPO) 412300
Ryan (VALPO) 402000
DILUCA (EIU) 423000
Baseball Drops Midweek Matchup with EIU
Tuesday, April 12, 2022
Baseball Drops Midweek Matchup with EIU
Grant Jablonski pitched two innings on Tuesday.

Nolan Tucker (Cedar Lake, Ind. / Hanover Central) drilled his second career home run and Jeremy Drudge (Plymouth, Ind. / Plymouth) ripped a bases-clearing double, but a late rally came up short as the Valparaiso University baseball team fell 7-5 to Eastern Illinois on Tuesday at Rantoul Sports Complex in Rantoul, Ill.

How It Happened

  • A leadoff walk came back to bite the Beacons in the opening frame as that led to a run for Eastern Illinois in the bottom of the first to give the hosts a 1-0 advantage.
  • Eastern Illinois scored three times in the bottom of the third to expand the lead to 4-0. It could have been more if it weren’t for a cannon from Drudge in right, who cut down a runner at the dish on a 9-2 outfield assist. In the next inning, Valpo got another piece of quality outfield defense as Alex Ryan (Lake Mills, Wis. / Lakeside Lutheran) came in to make a nifty sliding grab in center.
  • Valpo got on the board as Tucker led off the fifth with a line-drive shot over the left-field fence for a home run to make it a 4-1 ballgame. The Beacons had a chance for more in the fifth with two on and one away, but settled for the single tally.
  • The Panthers expanded the lead to 6-1 in the fifth by scoring twice on four hits.
  • Reliever Jacob Rosenkranz (Lincolnshire, Ill. / Stevenson) worked a scoreless sixth, inducing an inning-ending double play. He came on in relief of Connor Lockwood (Libertyville, Ill. / Libertyville), who allowed six runs (five earned) on eight hits and four walks while striking out three in 4 2/3 innings. Rosenkranz was charged with no runs on one hit and one walk in his 1 1/3 innings.
  • A double steal that included a delayed steal of home helped EIU add one in the eighth to expand the lead to 7-1.
  • Valpo rallied in the bottom of the ninth, which started with a Brady Renfro (Antigo, Wis. / Antigo) double. Drudge eventually cleared the bases with a two-bagger of his own, trimming the deficit to 7-4. With two outs, Alex Thurston (Fowler, Ind. / Benton Central) lashed a run-scoring single to right to shrink the lead to 7-5, then a collision between two Panther fielders in shallow right allowed Kaleb Hannahs (West Terre Haute, Ind. / West Vigo) to reach and set up runners at second and third with two down. However, the Beacons stranded the potential tying run in scoring position.

Inside the Game

  • Tucker’s home run was his first of the season and the second of his career.
  • Ryan had a pair of hits, his second multi-hit game of the season. Thurston had his 10th multi-hit game of the year, while Drudge enjoyed his second.
  • Drudge’s double was his first of the season. He over doubled his season RBI total with one swing of the bat, boosting that count from two to five.
  • This was Valpo’s 10th game decided by two runs or fewer as the Beacons dropped to 4-6 in such contests.
  • Hannahs extended his on-base streak to 16, while Thurston extended his to 15.

Up Next

Valpo (11-17) will travel to Illinois State for a three-game Easter Weekend series that begins on Friday at 5 p.m. All three games will air on ESPN3 with links to live video and stats available on ValpoAthletics.com.