The Valparaiso University baseball team got off to a favorable start with a four-run first inning against Missouri Valley Conference powerhouse Missouri State on Friday afternoon at Emory G. Bauer Field, but the Bears came back with crooked numbers of their own in the third and eighth to win the game 6-5. The Crusaders led 5-3 for the bulk of the day until Missouri State’s three-run eighth inning turned the tables.
How It Happened
- Zack Leone (Pelham Manor, N.Y. / Fordham Prep [Susquehanna]) singled up the middle to drive in a pair in the bottom of the first after two walks and a Chase Dawson (Chesterton, Ind. / Andrean) double allowed Valpo to load the bags. The two-run lead doubled when Patrick Donohue (Arlington Heights, Ill. / Prospect) sent one up the middle that deflected off the pitcher’s leg and into shallow left center, plating two more. Valpo sent 10 men to the plate in the first.
- Valpo starting pitcher Jon Tieman (Crystal Lake, Ill. / Prairie Ridge) put goose eggs on the board in each of the first two innings, but the Bears (28-14, 11-2) took a large bite out of the deficit in the third. Jack Duffy’s two-run double highlighted a three-run frame, allowing Missouri State to pull within 4-3.
- Donohue, making just his second start and 12th appearance of the season, was again a key part of the Valpo offense in the third. He singled, stole second and scored on a base hit by Jayden Eggimann (Mesa, Ariz. / Desert Ridge [Central Arizona / Grand Canyon]), making it a 5-3 lead.
- Missouri State starter Dylan Coleman was pulled after 2 1/3 innings (5 R, 5 H, 4 BB, 2 SO), but reliever Ty Buckner had his way with the Valpo offense, throwing 4 2/3 innings without allowing a run or a hit, though he did walk four.
- Tieman worked in and out of trouble for the rest of his outing. By the time he was removed with two on and one away in the seventh, he had allowed just three runs despite seven hits and six walks.
- Alex Dirienzo (Somset, Pa. / Somerset [Akron]) inherited a precarious spot in that seventh inning, but got two important outs to retire the side without damage and keep Valpo ahead 5-3.
- The Valpo bullpen would have no such success in the eighth, an inning that saw Missouri State score three times on just one hit (a bunt single) and no errors. Wildness was the big factor, as three Valpo pitchers combined to give up two walks, a hit batter and a wild pitch.
- A two-out, ninth-inning double by Chad Jacob (Irvine, Calif. / Woodbridge) was the only Valpo hit over the final six innings of the game.
Inside the Game
- Chet Joslyn (0-1) took the loss in relief, while Buckner (5-4) picked up a much-deserved win for Missouri State. Connor Sechler came in to nail down his fifth save of the season by working two scoreless innings.
- Donohue doubled his season RBI total on one swing in the opening inning as he entered the contest with two runs batted in on the year. He enjoyed his second multi-hit game of the season, as two of his four hits on the year prior to Friday came on April 11 vs. Milwaukee.
- One-run games remained a bugaboo for the Crusaders (15-25, 5-8), who dropped to 1-11 in such contests.
- Reaching the six-run mark once again proved pivotal, as Valpo fell to 1-21 when scoring five runs or fewer.
- Runners left on base were a theme of the day on both sides, as Valpo stranded 11 and Missouri State left 10. The two teams also combined for 19 walks and three hit batters.
The Crusaders and Bears will do it again on Saturday at 1 p.m. CT for the middle game of the weekend series. Trey Ferketic is scheduled to start for the Crusaders. The game will be broadcast on 95.1 FM Valparaiso with Ben Ariano and Danny Dalenberg on the call. Links to live audio (TuneIn Radio) and stats (StatBroadcast) are available.