The Valparaiso University baseball team came from behind late for the second straight day, but this time the rally came up shy as Oakland scored three times in the top of the 10th and held on to beat the Crusaders 9-6. The Crusaders plated three runs in the bottom of the ninth to draw even after the Grizzlies had grabbed two insurance tallies in the top of the ninth.
How It Happened
- For the second straight day, the Grizzlies played long ball early as Tyler Pagano drilled a three-run homer in the first inning against Wes Gordon.
- The Crusaders got an unearned tally in the bottom of the inning as a throwing error by Oakland’s second baseman allowed Chad Jacob (Irvine, Calif. / Woodbridge) to score on a ground ball by Sam Shaikin (West Hills, Calif. / Chatsworth)
- Gordon left after just one inning (4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO) as freshman Jon Tieman (Crystal Lake, Ill. / Prairie Ridge) was inserted on the mound to begin the second.
- Valpo chipped away again in the third as Christian Barczi (Naperville, Ill. / Naperville North) hit a ground ball to short that appeared to be a tailor-made double play, but Oakland’s second baseman made a wild throw to first to allow Barczi to reach on a fielder’s choice and earn an RBI, as Jacob scored from third.
- Zach Sterry belted a solo homer to left in the fifth, doubling Oakland’s lead to two at 4-2.
- There was no further scoring until the eighth inning. The Valpo bullpen did a strong job as Tieman allowed just one run on six hits over 4 2/3 innings, then Montana Quigley (Lake Forest, Calif. / El Toro) sent down the first seven batters he faced.
- In the bottom of the eighth, Chase Dawson (Chesterton, Ind. / Andrean) reached on an error by the shortstop and Riley Dent crossed the plate for an unearned run. That trimmed the lead to one at 4-3.
- The Grizzlies got two insurance tallies in the top of the ninth. Tyler Janish ripped a run-scoring triple, then Tyler Pagano lifted a sacrifice fly. Sterry was cut down attempting to advance to second, but Janish had already crossed the plate to make it 6-3.
- A string of three straight singles started the bottom of the ninth. After Oakland’s Nick Parr got the first out, Giovanni Garbella (San Diego, Calif. / Cathedral Catholic) singled to left to drive in Jacob and make it 6-4. Dent was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, forcing in a run to make it 6-5.
- Oddly enough, the bottom of the ninth inning ended with the same unusual play – a sac fly turned double play with a run crossing the plate before the final out was recorded – that ended the top of the ninth. Scott Kapers (Schererville, Ind. / Mount Carmel) lifted a fly ball to right, and Garbella got caught in a rundown between second and third. He was eventually tagged out to end the inning, but Jayden Eggimann (Mesa, Ariz. / Desert Ridge [Central Arizona / Grand Canyon]) had crossed the plate to score the tying run and send it to extras, 6-6.
- Easton Rhodehouse (Gilbert, Ariz. / Highland) replaced Quigley for the 10th inning and struck out the first man he faced, but then issued back-to-back walks. The second walk prompted Brian Schmack to call upon Luke VanLanen (Pulaski, Wis. / Pulaski), who gave up a go-ahead single through the right side. The Grizzlies tacked on two more runs by the end of the inning, including one on a squeeze bunt by Misch, to make it 9-6.
- Jared Burkert pitched a scoreless bottom of the 10th to nail down his first save.
Inside The Game
- Parr blew the save in the ninth, but was awarded the win to improve to 3-3. Rhodehouse worked 1/3 of an inning and was charged with two earned runs to take the loss in relief, dropping his record to 3-4.
- This was Valpo’s first extra-inning loss of the season.
- Stea, Hanson, Barczi and Garbella had two hits apiece. Stea moved into a tie with Nate Palace for the team lead with 11 multi-hit games.
- Shaikin has reached base in 16 consecutive games, while extending his hitting streak to seven.
- Jacob drew three walks, scored three runs and reached base four times on Saturday. He accepted three of his team’s four bases on balls. Jacob set a career high in runs scored and matched a career watermark by drawing three walks for the first time since May 20, 2015.
- Valpo did not have any extra-base hits for the sixth time this season.
The Crusaders and Grizzlies will conclude the three-game series with Saturday’s finale. The first pitch is slated to occur at 1 p.m. CT. The game can be heard on 95.1 FM Valparaiso, WVUR. Links to live audio and stats are available on ValpoAthletics.com.