The Valparaiso University baseball team fell 8-1 in the series opener against MVC preseason favorite Dallas Baptist on Friday afternoon at Emory G. Bauer Field. The Crusaders received the bulk of their offensive production out of the six and seven spots in the lineup as Chad Jacob (Irvine, Calif. / Woodbridge) and Scott Kapers (Schererville, Ind. / Mt. Carmel) combined for five of the team’s eight hits.
How It Happened
- The Patriots (26-13, 8-2 MVC) struck first as Matt Duce doubled down the right-field line in the opening inning to plate Devlin Granberg.
- The turning point of the game was a ragged second inning that saw four runs cross the dish for DBU. Kody Funderburk led off the inning with what would have been a routine fly ball on an ordinary day, but the windy conditions wreaked havoc and the ball fell in center for a triple. Two errors were committed later in the frame, leading to two unearned runs.
- Valpo (14-22, 4-6 MVC) had three hits in the second and three more in the fourth, but was unable to produce a run in either frame. The Crusaders stranded the bags full in the second, while DBU starting pitcher Trevor Conn induced an important double play in the fourth.
- DBU tacked on single tallies in the fourth and fifth against Valpo starting pitcher Jon Tieman (Crystal Lake, Ill. / Prairie Ridge), widening the lead to 7-0.
- Tieman finished the outing on a high note, sending DBU down in order for the first time in the game in the top of the sixth.
- Both Easton Rhodehouse (Gilbert, Ariz. / Highland) and Luke VanLanen (Pulaski, Wis. / Pulaski) threw scoreless frames out of the Valpo bullpen with Rhodehouse’s seventh coming in 1-2-3 fashion.
- DBU made it 8-0 in the top of the eighth, but the Crusaders got that tally right back as they got on the board in the bottom of the inning. Chase Dawson (Chesterton, Ind. / Andrean) hit a bouncing ball to the DBU third baseman, who attempted to backhand it and had it deflect off his glove and into shallow left for an error. After Blake Billinger (Los Gatos, Calif. / St. Francis [Mission]) ripped a double down the left-field line, Giovanni Garbella (San Diego, Calif. / Cathedral Catholic) drove in Dawson with a ground ball to short.
Inside the Game
- Conn may have given the heart of the Valpo lineup fits, but Jacob seemed to have him figured out. The Valpo third baseman’s three hits marked his season high.
- Kapers enjoyed his eighth multiple hit game of the season
- Billinger’s double was his 17th of the year. He entered Friday already tied for the MVC lead in two-baggers.
- Tieman (4-4) took the loss after allowing seven runs (four earned) on nine hits in six innings. Conn was the pitcher of record on the positive side, boosting his mark to 6-0 after seven scoreless innings.
- Four Patriots had multi-hit days, led by Granberg at 4-for-5.
The Crusaders and Patriots will do it again on Saturday in the middle game of a three-game series at Emory G. Bauer Field. The first pitch is slated for 1 p.m. as Trey Ferketic takes the mound for the Crusaders. The game will be broadcast on 95.1 FM Valparaiso with Ben Ariano doing the play-by-play.