Starting pitcher Jon Tieman (Crystal Lake, Ill. / Prairie Ridge) turned in a complete-game gem, Zack Leone (Pelham Manor, N.Y. / Fordham Prep [Susquehanna]) ripped a go-ahead ninth-inning double and Jayden Eggimann (Mesa, Ariz. / Desert Ridge [Central Arizona / Grand Canyon]) made a game-ending diving catch on a line drive to center. All of it added up to a crisp, entertaining and dramatic 2-1 victory over Illinois State for the Valparaiso University baseball team on Friday night in the series opener at Duffy Bass Field in Normal, Ill.
How It Happened
- Junior Chase Dawson (Chesterton, Ind. / Andrean) led off the game with a double to left, used a good jump to swipe third and scooted home as Blake Billinger (Los Gatos, Calif. / St. Francis [Mission]) lifted a sac fly to center. The Crusaders (17-27, 6-10) had a run of support for Tieman before he took the mound for the first time.
- The first-inning tally was all the Crusaders could muster against Illinois State starter Brady Huffman. However, Tieman was even better through six, and Huffman exited on the hook for the loss with his team trailing 1-0. He yielded just four hits and two walks while striking out three.
- The biggest threat against Tieman over the first seven innings was in the fourth when a 6-4-3 double play eased a threat that featured two on with nobody out. Shaikan and Dawson turned a pair of twin killings in back of Tieman, including a nifty play by Dawson ranging to his right behind the second base bag in the second.
- Tieman pitched to contact throughout the day as he did not issue a walk until the sixth inning and his first strikeout did not come until the eighth.
- After Tieman retired the first two batters of the eighth inning, Illinois State strung together three straight two-out hits from the top three hitters in the order. That allowed a run to score as Owen Miller’s single drove in Tyson Hayes to tie the game at one. Tieman got a strikeout to end the inning as Illinois State (18-27, 5-11) stranded runners at first and third.
- It didn’t take long for Valpo to wrestle the lead right back as Giovanni Garbella (San Diego, Calif. / Cathedral Catholic) led off the ninth with a sharp infield single to third, then Leone placed a double that was just fair down the right-field line. Garbella scored successfully on the Leone double, sliding in just ahead of the catcher’s tag.
- The Crusaders had an opportunity for more in the top of the ninth, but settled for the single tally as they stranded the bags full.
- Tieman struck out the first two batters in the ninth, but then the drama heightened. A walk and a hit batter allowed Illinois State to threaten. Derek Parola ripped a line drive to center, but Jayden Eggimann (Mesa, Ariz. / Desert Ridge [Central Arizona /Grand Canyon]) made a diving catch to seal a thrilling win in fitting fashion.
Inside the Game
- Tieman threw his second complete game of the season and the fifth by a Valpo pitcher this year. He and Trey Ferketic have two complete games apiece.
- Tieman garnered the win to up his record to 5-4, exceeding his win total of four that shared the team lead a year ago. He scattered eight hits, walked two and struck out four (all over the last two innings) in his 132-pitch effort.
- Illinois State’s Trevor Cross was hit with the loss in relief to fall to 1-3.
- Shaikin went 2-for-4 to register his 15th multi-hit game of the season.
- Valpo recorded just its second one-run win of the season, improving to 2-11 in such contests.
- This was the first time all season Valpo won a game when scoring fewer than five runs. In fact, Valpo was previously just 1-23 when scoring fewer than six times in a game.
The series continues on Saturday at 2 p.m. CT as Trey Ferketic gets the ball from head coach Brian Schmack for the middle game of the three-game set. Links to audio and stats are available on ValpoAthletics.com.