The Valparaiso University baseball team fell 8-0 to Illinois State on Sunday afternoon at Duffy Bass Field in Normal, Ill. The Redbirds sprinted ahead 7-0 through two innings before the Valpo bullpen slowed them down to the tune of one run over seven frames. However, the Crusader offense was stymied by Illinois State starter Matt Walker, who pitched six shutout innings and garnered the win.
How It Happened
- After three straight hits started the bottom of the first for Illinois State, Jake McCaw clubbed a bases-clearing double to give Illinois State a 3-0 lead. Noah Sadler grounded a run-scoring single to right, bolstering the lead to 4-0 through one.
- John Rave drilled a two-run homer down the right-field line in the second, expanding the Illinois State lead to 6-0. Two batters later, Owen Miller belted one to left for the second home run of the inning, making it 7-0.
- Left-handed pitcher Michael Mommersteeg (St. Thomas, Ont., Canada / St. Joseph’s) stemmed the tide with three scoreless innings in relief. He yielded just one hit and worked around four walks.
- McCaw lifted a sac fly in the sixth to expand Illinois State’s lead to 8-0. That was the only run by either team over the final seven innings of the game.
- Chet Joslyn (Battle Creek, Mich. / Lakeview) and Alex Dirienzo (Somerset, Pa. / Somerset [Akron]) each contributed scoreless innings on a strong day for the Valpo relief corps.
Inside the Game
- Billinger ripped his 22nd double of the season in the first inning, moving to within one of tying the single-season program record of 23 set by Kyle Muhlsteff in 2010. Sunday’s double allowed Billinger to move into sole possession of second in program history for doubles in a single season, snapping a four-way tie.
- The starters were the pitchers of record, as Valpo’s Wes Gordon (Gurnee, Ill. / Warren [Lake County]) was hit with the loss to fall to 2-6 after yielding seven runs on nine hits in two innings. The winner was Walker (5-2), who worked six scoreless innings and permitted just two hits.
- Illinois State’s Owen Miller hit for the cycle and had five hits in the game.
The Crusaders will be back in action on Tuesday as Chicago State comes to Emory G. Bauer Field. The first pitch for the nonconference finale is slated for 3 p.m. CT. The game can be heard on 95.1 FM Valparaiso with links to live audio (TuneIn Radio) and stats (StatBroadcast) available.