One swing of the bat by Sam Shaikin (West Hills, Calif. / Chatsworth) altered the game’s complexion on Sunday afternoon in Wilmington, N.C. as the senior launched a go-ahead grand slam with two outs in the eighth to send the Valparaiso University baseball team to a 10-8 victory over UNCW. The victory came against a quality program that reached an NCAA Regional last season.
How It Happened
- Starting pitchers Gage Herring and Colin Fields (Libertyville, Ill. / Libertyville) exchanged zeros for the first two innings before Valpo broke through against Herring in the third. They made him pay for a leadoff walk that came around to score on a sacrifice fly by Chase Dawson (Chesterton, Ind. / Andrean).
- After Dawson drove in the first run of the game, Valpo made it a three-run inning thanks to the continuation of a strong weekend at the plate by Brent Jones (Ankeny, Iowa / Ankey Centennial [Iowa Central]). The fifth-year senior came through with a two-out, bases-loaded single to drive in a pair and make it 3-0 Valpo.
- UNCW got two runs back in the bottom of the third with help from two Valpo errors, three wild pitches and four walks.
- The Seahawks (6-6) scored two more in the fourth to grab the lead, capitalizing on three walks and two wild pitches to go ahead 4-3.
- The seesaw battle continued in the sixth, as Valpo tied the game on a Jones sacrifice fly in the top of the inning before Kep Brown singled home a run in the bottom of the frame to go back ahead 5-4.
- Valpo once again tied it with help from an error in the top of the seventh, but the Seahawks scored three times in the bottom of the inning including a two-run double by Cole Weiss to make it 8-5 in favor of the hosts.
- The top of the eighth started modestly for Valpo with two outs and nobody on base. However, five straight batters reached base to turn the game on its head. Damon Jorgenson (Blair, Neb. / Blair [Coffeyville]) drove in the first run with an infield single that accounted for the first RBI of his Valpo career before Shaikin delivered the big blow of the game with a go-ahead grand slam.
- Montana Quigley (Lake Forest, Calif. / El Toro) got the final six outs, retiring the side in order in both the eighth and ninth.
Inside the Game
- Shaikin’s grand slam was the first by a Valpo player since Jayden Eggimann hit one on April 11 of last season against Milwaukee. It also marked Shaikin’s first home run of the season and the 14th of his collegiate career.
- The bases-loaded big fly was part of a 3-for-4 game for Shaikin as he posted season bests in hits and RBIs.
- Jones drove in three more runs on Sunday to finish the weekend with seven over three games. He entered the series with four RBIs in his Valpo career, all last season.
- Jorgensen went 2-for-4 and scored twice to enjoy his first multi-hit game in a Valpo uniform.
- Jim Jarecki (New Berlin, Wis. / Marquette [Heartland / Bradley]) picked up the win in relief by virtue of pitching the inning prior to Valpo’s rally. That was his first decision of the year.
- Fields walked seven and gave up four runs (three earned) on two hits in three innings.
- Quigley struck out three of the six men that came to the plate against him and nailed down his first save of the season. It marked the second save of his collegiate career.
- Billinger ripped his second double of the year after he was a doubles machine with 23 in 2018.
- UNCW’s Henry Ryan (2-2) took the loss out of the bullpen as he was charged with two runs in 1/3 of an inning.
The spring trip continues on Tuesday as Valpo (2-6) heads to Greensboro, N.C. to play North Carolina A&T in a game that begins at 3 p.m. CT. Links to live coverage will be available on ValpoAthletics.com.