he Valparaiso University baseball team dropped the final game of a three-game set with Arkansas State by a score of 4-1 on Monday afternoon in Jonesboro, Ark. Blake Billinger (Los Gatos, Calif. / St. Francis [Mission]) continued to drive in runs as he picked up Valpo’s lone RBI.
How It Happened
- Valpo had a man in scoring position in two of the first three innings, but in both cases Arkansas State starting pitcher Nate Alberius escaped unscathed.
- The Red Wolves (5-2) used a two-run homer by Kyle MacDonald to grab the lead in the bottom of the third.
- The score remained 2-0 until the sixth, when Chase Dawson (Chesterton, Ind. / Andrean) ripped a triple down the right-field line and Billinger poked a single to center, scoring Dawson and slicing the lead in half.
- Starting pitcher Colin Fields (Libertyville, Ill. / Libertyville) permitted just two runs on three hits while striking out five in 4 1/3 innings in his collegiate debut. He was eventually hit with the defeat.
- Fellow freshman Zach Fricke (Arlington Heights, Ill. / Buffalo Grove) relieved Fields with one out in the fifth. He got the final two outs of that frame before hanging zeros on the board in the sixth and seventh. No runs crossed the dish while Fricke was on the mound, but he was charged with two as he departed with two men on in the eighth and both came around to score.
- That two spot in the eighth gave the Red Wolves some breathing room before they secured the victory as Kollin Stone worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his second save.
Inside the Game
- Billinger drove in six of the team’s eight runs in the series. Through Monday’s game, he leads the team in batting average (.333), home runs (2), RBIs (7), total bases (16) and slugging percentage (.762).
- Christian Barczi (Naperville, Ill. / Naperville North) doubled on Monday for his first extra-base knock of the season.
- Dawson’s triple was the 10th of his career, allowing him to become the 10th player in program history with double-figure triples. He is now tied for eighth in program history with Jeff Snyder (1989-1992) and Chris Manning (2011-2014).
Valpo (1-4) will open up a three-game series at UNC Wilmington on Friday at 3 p.m. CT in Wilmington, N.C. for the start of the annual spring break trip. Links to live video (free) and stats will be available on ValpoAthletics.com.