The Valparaiso University baseball team made it four wins in a row on Tuesday by topping Chicago State 4-3 in the Emory G. Bauer Field finale. Steven Fitzsimmons (Golden Valley, Minn. / Robbinsdale Cooper) finished a home run shy of the cycle, while four Valpo relief pitchers did not allow any earned runs over 4 1/3 innings to help secure the triumph.
How It Happened
- The first runs of the game came in the second inning when Damon Jorgensen (Blair, Neb. / Blair [Coffeyville]) grounded a single through the left side to drive in a run, then a second run crossed the dish as Jorgensen got in a run down between first and second to make it 2-0 Valpo.
- The next scoring came on another unique play in the fourth when Chicago State tied the game on a fly ball to center field that eventually led to two runs. One scored from third on the sac fly, then an errant relay to third to try to cut down the runner who had tagged from second went out of play and that runner was awarded the plate on an error to make it 2-2.
- Chicago State (10-38) had a chance for more in the fourth, but Valpo starter Keegan Bates (Plainfield, Ill. / Plainfield) got a strikeout to retire the side, stranding the bases loaded. The Cougars worked two walks in the fifth, spelling the end of the day for Bates. Montana Quigley (Lake Forest, Calif. / El Toro) came in and efficiently did his job, getting a quick out to cause the Cougars to strand two more.
- In the bottom of the fifth, a hit batter and a walk allowed Valpo to have two on with two outs. Fitzsimmons lifted a fly ball to deep right field that the Chicago State right fielder could not corral. It went for a two-run triple, putting Valpo ahead 4-2.
- Quigley worked a scoreless sixth, then Colin Fields (Libertyville, Ill. / Libertyville) and Josh Currier (Mokena, Ill. / Lincoln Way Central) each heaved shutout frames to keep it 4-2 through eight.
- Valpo survived a scare in the top of the ninth as the Cougars had the first two men reach on a single followed by an error. Later in the inning, a ground ball to second base drove in a run to make it 4-3, then a walk put two on with two outs and the tying run in scoring position. Easton Rhodehouse (Gilbert, Ariz. / Highland) was able to nail down the save by inducing a fly ball to center to end the game.
Inside the Game
- Valpo has won four straight, its longest winning streak since securing six straight victories in late 2016.
- Valpo finished the season with a winning home record for the fourth time in the last five years by going 8-6 inside the friendly confines of Emory G. Bauer Field.
- Valpo extended its head-to-head winning streak in games against Chicago State to 23.
- Rhodehouse earned his fourth save thanks to escaping trouble in the top of the ninth, while Quigley (1-2) was awarded his first win with 1 1/3 scoreless frames where he allowed no hits and one walk. Bates received no decision after allowing two runs on three hits and seven walks while striking out five in 4 2/3 innings.
- Fitzsimmons had three hits in four tries, while Jake Kapers (Schererville, Ind. / Mount Carmel) turned in a multi-hit output.
Valpo (14-32) will begin a three-game series against Missouri State on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in Springfield. Links to live coverage will be available on ValpoAthletics.com.