The visitors from Ball State spoiled the home opener for the Valparaiso University baseball team on Monday afternoon at Emory G. Bauer Field. The Cardinals scored in seven of the nine innings including a dozen unanswered runs in the first six and a half frames. Valpo’s offense showed positive signs in the bottom of the seventh by scoring five times, but Ball State went on to win 13-5 in nonconference action.
How It Happened
- Starting pitcher Josh Currier (Mokena, Ill. / Lincoln Way Central) allowed two runs in the opening inning by hitting two batters with the bases loaded. After four of the first five hitters to come to the plate in the second inning reached base, Currier was lifted in favor of fellow southpaw Michael Mommersteeg (St. Thomas, Ont., Canada / St. Joseph’s) with Ball State up 4-0.
- One more tally crossed the dish in that inning (charged to Currier), then Mommersteeg heaved a scoreless third. However, the Cardinals (13-11) went back to work offensively in the fourth, scoring three more runs including a two-run homer to left center by Justin Kirkpatrick.
- Jeff Riedel led off the fifth with a homer to left, and by the time the fifth inning came to an end Ball State owned a 10-0 lead.
- Single tallies in the sixth and seventh allowed Ball State to expand the lead to 12. The Valpo offense came to life in the bottom of the seventh, an inning started by a Christian Barczi (Naperville, Ill. / Naperville North) home run that put the Crusaders on the board.
- Valpo (7-13) eventually sent 11 men to the plate in that frame. Sam Shaikin (West Hills, Calif. / Chatsworth) ripped a two-run double down the left-field line, Blake Billinger (Los Gatos, Calif. / St. Francis [Mission]) drove in a run with a single to center and Chad Jacob (Irvine, Calif. / Woodbridge) walked with the bases loaded.
- The Cardinals got a run back in the eighth and Valpo didn’t score in the final two innings.
Inside the Game
- Ball State starter Evan Marquardt (1-0) got the win after allowing just two hits and one walk while striking out nine over five shutout innings. Currier (0-1) absorbed the loss after allowing five runs (four earned) on three hits, three walks and two hit batters in 1 1/3 innings.
- The Crusaders were hurt by strikeouts, as they had 15 batters go down on strikes.
- Shaikin notched the team’s only multi-hit game and drove in a pair.
- Pitcher Nick Leaverton (Mission Viejo, Calif. / Capistrano Valley) made his season debut in the top of the ninth. He retired three of the four batters he faced and of the six Crusaders who saw the mound, he was the only one who did not allow a run.
- Barczi’s home run was his first of the season and the second of his career. His previous long ball came on April 9, 2017 vs. Northern Kentucky.
The Crusaders will take on their third consecutive instate foe on Wednesday in West Lafayette as Valpo and Purdue face off at 5 p.m. CT / 6 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcast on BTN Plus (subscription required) and Purdue radio. Links to live video, audio and stats are available.