JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Chris Gau pitched spectacularly in eight innings of work Saturday, but Jacksonville University (5-6) was again haunted by late-game errors in a 5-2 loss to Valparaiso University (4-4) at John Sessions Stadium. First pitch for the series finale will be at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday.
"Chris has been terrific the entire year. He's been outstanding, and he deserved better faith than what he got today. He deserved a win today with the way he pitched. I loved the way he competed and that he gave our guys a chance," said Head Coach Chris Hayes." You have to give Valparaiso credit. They've played extremely aggressive, clean baseball the last two days. They've pitched exceptionally well, fielded the ball when it was hit to them, and they've executed. They put pressure on our defense and our defense has not responded very well."
Valpo struck early with two hits and a sac fly that put one Crusader across in the first, but Gau played shutdown baseball the rest of his eight innings of work, striking out three while allowing just four hits and surrendering two walks. The Crusaders did score a second run while Gau was on the mound, but it was not charged to the right-hander as the runner scored on an error. The sophomore from Jacksonville, Fla., has an ERA of 0.45 in three appearances with 18 strikeouts on the year.
While Gau held Valpo in check, JU went to work offensively. The Dolphins scored in the second on a solo homer by Sam Armstrong that tied the game at 1-1, and then took a 2-1 lead in the fifth on singles from Ruben Someillan, Nathan Koslowski, and Scott Dubrule.
Stranded baserunners and errors hurt the Dolphins late in the game. Five times JU had runners in scoring position and did not capitalize, and three of the Dolphins' four errors came in the eighth and ninth innings.
In the eighth JU had two outs with runners on first and second, then on a stolen base attempt the Dolphins committed an error that allowed the runner on second to score, tying the game at 2-2.
In the ninth JU allowed three singles and surrendered more two errors that Valpo capitalized on to the tune of three runs plated, taking a 5-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth.
Koslowski smacked a single deep into left field with one out, but back-to-back flyouts ended the Dolphin threat. The final from Sessions: Valparaiso 5, Jacksonville 3.