JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A career-best 11 strikeouts for Michael Baumann held Valparaiso (3-4) hitless through six innings, but Jacksonville University (5-5) couldn't hang on in a game that went into extra innings. The Crusaders beat the Dolphins 6-3 in 10 innings Friday at John Sessions Stadium.
"It was good to see Michael back," said Head Coach Chris Hayes. "He's been recovering from an illness, and it's good to see him return to the Michael Baumann we know. He was still on a pitch count tonight and I hated to take him out at that point in time, but I didn't want to overtax him too early in his recovery. Ultimately he gave us a shot in what turned into a three-inning ball game, and our bullpen couldn't hold it and we couldn't do enough defensively."
Baumann pitched a gem through six in what would have been a shutout if not for a hit-by-pitch and an error in the second inning that put a Valpo runner safely across. However, the Dolphins responded early with singles from Sam Armstrong, Mike Cassala, and Dakota Julylia and the first JU sac fly of the year from John Cassala. After two JU led 2-1, and held that lead through six innings.
Mark Potter relieved Baumann at the start of the seventh, and though the freshman collected his seventh strikeout of the season, the Crusaders were able to put two across on three singles and an error to take a 3-2 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh. JU could not respond, and after seven innings, Valparaiso led JU 3-2.
Matt Meyer relieved Potter in the eighth and snagged the Dolphins' 13th strikeout of the game, keeping JU within one run. The Dolphins' bats rewarded Meyer's effort in the bottom of the inning by tying the game at 3-3 on a single by Armstrong and an RBI double from Mike Cassala. Valpo made a pitching change with Cassala on second and one out, and though the sophomore catcher was able to get to third on Scott Dubrule's groundout to short, a strike out ended the Dolphin threat. After eight it was knotted 3-3.
The game went to extras after neither team managed to get a hit in the ninth. Spencer Stockton impressively used just one pitch to get the final out in the top of the inning with a runner on third that had stolen home twice in 2016.
Valpo's bats came up big in the 10th. The Crusaders hit four singles and used two hit-by-pitches to put three across, and led 6-3 heading into the bottom of the extra inning. A foul out and two strikeouts ended the game for JU. The final from Sessions after 10 innings: Valparaiso 6, Jacksonville 3