The Valparaiso University baseball team held the lead as late as the eighth inning in Sunday’s Missouri Valley Conference game against Bradley at Emory G. Bauer Field, but the Braves went ahead with two runs in the eighth, then scored six times in the ninth on their way to a 10-4 win over Valpo. Starting pitcher Wes Gordon (Gurnee, Ill. / Warren [Lake County]) exited the game in position to garner the victory, but ended up with no decision after allowing two runs (one earned) while scattering seven hits and issuing no walks over seven innings.
How It Happened
- Gordon and Bradley starter Sam Lund matched each other zero for zero through the first three innings before the Crusaders (8-16, 1-2) grabbed the lead in the fourth. Blake Billinger (Los Gatos, Calif. / St. Francis [Mission]) and Zack Leone (Pelham Manor, N.Y. / Fordham Prep [Susquehanna]) both ripped run-scoring doubles in that frame.
- An RBI single by Keaton Rice and a Valpo error helped the Braves (14-7, 2-1) tie the game in the fifth, but the Crusaders leaped back in front when Chad Jacob (Irvine, Calif. / Woodbridge) doubled down the right-field line in the sixth to score a run.
- It remained 3-2 in favor of the Crusaders until the eighth, when Bradley scored twice to grab the lead against Hayden Kissee (Cumberland, Ind. / Greenfield Central [Kaskaskia College]), who eventually took the loss to fall to 0-2. That was only the beginning of the Valpo bullpen struggles, as Bradley scored six times in the ninth on one hit, one error and seven walks. Valpo used five pitchers in the inning.
- Jayden Eggimann (Mesa, Ariz. / Desert Ridge [Central Arizona / Grand Canyon]) had an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth for the game’s final run.
Inside the Game
- Valpo relievers were the pitchers of record for all three games in the series.
- Leone has 23 RBIs this season, and 21 of them have come with two outs.
- No Valpo batter went down on strikes on Sunday, just the second time this season that has occurred (March 11 at Loyola Marymount).
- Billinger has reached base in 13 consecutive games, while Jacob has done so in 12 straight.
- Valpo had 10 hits in the game, all coming from different Crusaders.
- Gordon has issued just four walks in 30 1/3 innings this season. This marked the third time this year he’s gone at least seven innings in a start and not issued any bases on balls.
The Crusaders will host Western Michigan in nonconference play on Tuesday at 3 p.m. CT at Emory G. Bauer Field. The game will be broadcast on 95.1 FM Valparaiso and online via the TuneIn Radio app. The Crusaders will return to Valley action this coming weekend with a three-game series at Southern Illinois.