The Valparaiso University baseball team concluded a challenging week of road games on Sunday afternoon with a 6-1 loss to DBU at Horner Ballpark in Dallas. Louie Baker (Gold Coast, Australia / [Scottsdale CC]) scored the lone Valpo run of the day and had two hits, while Easton Rhodehouse (Gilbert, Ariz. / Highland) pitched three quality innings of relief to lead the pitching staff.
How It Happened
- DBU (21-6, 3-0 MVC) got on the board first via an unearned run in the opening inning. Augie Isaacson doubled, moved to third on an error and scored on a sac fly by Jackson Glenn.
- Valpo freshman starting pitcher Zach Fricke (Arlington Heights, Ill. / Buffalo Grove) escaped a jam in the second as the Patriots had runners at second and third with one out but didn’t score. Fricke got a strikeout and a soft bouncer to first to retire the side. However, DBU tacked on three runs on four hits in the third to boost the lead to 4-0.
- DBU added one in the fourth, but the bottom of the Valpo order assembled a rally in the top of the fifth as consecutive singles plus a walk from the 7-9 spots in the order loaded the bases. Riley Dent (Long Beach, Calif. / Wilson) lifted a sacrifice fly to get Valpo on the board at 5-1 and spell the end of the day for DBU starter Zach Heaton.
- Rhodehouse continued to be a bright spot on the Valpo pitching staff. The junior righty, who entered the day with a team-best 2.03 ERA, limited the Patriots to one run on two hits while striking out three and walking one over three innings. He faced just six batters in the fifth and sixth innings combined as both frames resulted in goose eggs for DBU.
- Valpo mounted a threat in the top of the seventh, but left the bases full. Baker connected on a one-out double for the team’s first extra-base hit of the afternoon.
- Jim Jarecki (New Berlin, Wis. / Marquette [Heartland/Bradley]) came out of the Valpo bullpen and did a nice job in the bottom of the seventh, sending the Patriots down in order.
- DBU touched Jarecki for a run in the eighth on a two-out double down the left-field line by Luke Bandy that made it 6-1.
Inside the Game
- Fricke, who was making his first weekend start and the second start of his young career, departed after three innings in which he allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits while walking two and striking out two. He took the defeat to fall to 0-2.
- Heaton received no decision after coming an out shy of meeting the five-inning minimum to qualify for the win. He allowed just one run on three hits while walking two and striking out six.
- Dent lifted his first sac fly of the year while recording his eighth run batted in. The junior outfielder’s walk in the seventh allowed him to extend his on-base streak to 15, the longest by any Valpo player this season.
- Dent came to the plate with two outs and a runner at first in the ninth inning with his hitting streak on the line and lashed a single to center, extending the streak to 11, which is now the longest by a Valpo player this season.
- Baker ripped the first extra-base hit of his Valpo career and enjoyed his second multi-hit game. The JUCO transfer made his seventh start of the season and first at first base with the previous six coming behind the plate.
Valpo (5-19, 0-3 MVC) will return home after a busy week of travel for a few days off before welcoming Illinois State for a three-game weekend series. The series opener is slated for 3 p.m. on Friday at Emory G. Bauer Field. All three games will air on 95.1 FM Valparaiso and online via the TuneIn Radio app. Links to live audio and stats are available.