The Valparaiso University baseball team fell in both games of Saturday’s doubleheader at UNCW, falling 10-8 in the opener and 4-3 in the nightcap. Brent Jones (Ankeny, Iowa / Akeny Centennial [Iowa Central]) racked up two hits in each game to lead the offense, while Jon Tieman (Crystal Lake, Ill. / Prairie Ridge) turned in a quality start but received no decision in Game 2.
How It Happened – Game 1
- Valpo (1-6) jumped in front early by scoring three times in the opening inning. Blake Billinger (Los Gatos, Calif. / St. Francis [Mission]) drew a bases-loaded walk to force in the first run, then another runner was awarded the plate as Jones reached on catcher’s interference.
- After the first five batters of the game reached base for Valpo, the first out was a productive one as Christian Barczi (Naperville, Ill. / Naperville North) lifted a sacrifice fly to make it 3-0.
- Two batters in to UNCW’s first trip to the plate in the bottom of the first, the Seahawks had already taken a bite out of the deficit. Greg Jones walked, then Jackson Meadows cracked a two-run homer. Valpo starter Mike Kornacker (Lemont, Ill. / St. Laurence [Purdue]) issued three more walks in the inning, but UNCW (6-5) walked away without no additional runs.
- Cole Weiss singled home the game-tying run in the bottom of the second, but Valpo regained the lead in the top of the third as a Barczi run-scoring bouncer allowed him to notch his second RBI of the game and put his team in front 4-3.
- Greg Jones came through with a go-ahead, two-out single in the bottom of the fourth that scored a pair, giving the Seahawks their first lead of the day at 5-4.
- Riley Zayicek led off the bottom of the fifth with a solo home run, expanding the UNCW lead to 6-4.
- A solo homer by Kep Brown was part of a two-run sixth for the Seahawks, but Valpo responded in a big way in the seventh, scoring four times to tie the game at eight.
- Chase Dawson (Chesterton, Ind. / Andrean) continued a big day at the plate with a run-scoring single to make it 8-5, then Steven Fitzsimmons (Golden Valley, Minn. / Robinsdale Cooper) scored on a passed ball to make it 8-6. Brent Jones lashed a two-run single up the middle, completing the four-run frame and tying the game at eight.
- The game wasn’t even for long, as UNCW got two right back in the bottom of the eighth to pull back in front by a score of 10-8, a lead that would hold up for the game’s duration.
- Valpo’s Montana Quigley (Lake Forest, Calif. / El Toro) scattered three hits over two scoreless innings of relief while issuing no walks.
Inside the Game – Game 1
- Kornacker received no decision after allowing five runs on four hits and six walks in 2 2/3 innings. Keegan Bates (Plainfield, Ill. / Plainfield North) took the loss out of the Valpo bullpen for his first decision of the season, while Blake Morgan improved to 2-0 with the win for UNCW.
- Dawson accumulated four hits, while Brent Jones and Fitzsimmons had two apiece. Jones drove in three runs, while Billinger drew a career-high three walks.
- Dawson had the same amount of hits in Saturday’s first game as he did in the first five games of the season combined. It marked his first four-hit game since April 13, 2018 at Michigan State.
- Jones’ first double of the season accounted for Valpo’s lone extra-base knock. It was the second two-bagger of his Valpo career. His three RBIs set a career high.
How It Happened – Game 2
- Valpo was the first to score in Game 2 when Brent Jones led off the second inning with a triple before Ryan Wickman (Spring Green, Wis. / River Valley) ripped a run-scoring, two-out double.
- A two-out rally helped the Seahawks scratch out a run in the bottom of the second against Tieman, tying the game at one.
- Fitzsimmons scored on a Dawson fielder’s choice bouncer in the third, then Brent Jones continued his big day at the dish by ripping a two-out double to right to make it 3-1 Valpo.
- Tieman rolled through the middle part of the game, putting zeros on the board in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings. He worked around two errors to keep the Seahawks off the scoreboard in the sixth.
- Tieman exited with two on and nobody out in the seventh with Valpo holding a 3-1 lead. However, UNCW scored three runs against the Valpo bullpen in that inning to grab a 4-3 edge. Jarrett Hammel (0-2) eventually took the loss after giving up the go-ahead run.
- Easton Rhodehouse (Gilbert, Ariz. / Highland) came into the game and induced an inning-ending double play in the seventh before working a 1-2-3 eighth, but Valpo couldn’t muster up any more offense and UNCW held on for the win.
Inside the Game – Game 2
- Valpo used a new-look lineup as Jake Kapers (Schererville, Ind. / Mount Carmel), Wickman and Kevin Barry (Bartlett, Ill. / South Elgin) all made their first career starts while Fitzsimmons made his first of the season.
- Wickman’s run-scoring double in the second inning accounted for the first RBI and extra-base hit of his collegiate career. The Jones triple in that same inning was the first of his Valpo tenure.
- Tieman scattered five hits over six strong innings and was charged with three runs. He walked two and racked up eight strikeouts.
- Wickman had two hits in his starting debut, while Jones put together his second consecutive multi-hit game. Those two combined for four of the team’s five hits. Both players ripped doubles, accounting for the team’s two extra-base knocks of the game.
The series concludes on Sunday with an 11 a.m. CT / noon ET first pitch. Links to live video, audio and stats are available on ValpoAthletics.com.