WKU plates 10 runs in fourth clinching series win over Valpo, Peter pitches complete game

Junior Aristotle Peter pitching against Valparaiso on March 21, 2021 in Nick Denes Field. WKU went on to win 11-1 over the Crusaders to improve to 10-9 on the season.

Wyatt Sparkman

WKU (10-9) concluded their three game series with Valparaiso (4-9) on a sunny Sunday afternoon. The Hilltoppers tacked on a 10 run fourth inning to win 11-1. 

“Very good afternoon for the Hilltoppers today, found a way to obviously win the series and just thought it was one of our most complete games today,” head coach John Pawlowski said.    

Senior Jack Wilson went 3-for-4 with six RBIs, four of those coming on a grand slam in the fourth inning. 

For Valpo, redshirt senior Damon Jorgensen went 3-for-4 in the series finale at Nick Denes Field.  

Junior Aristotle Peter got his third start of the season. He tossed for a complete nine inning game allowing one run with six strikeouts. 

“It felt really good. I needed a good start,” Peter said. “We needed to win the series. In order for us to win, I had to go out and do my thing and give the boys a chance.”     

Sophomore Trent Turzenski got the start for Valparaiso. He pitched for 3.1 innings allowing eight runs.  

WKU got off to a hot start in the bottom of the first inning. Sophomore Jackson Gray singled then stole second base. Gray then scored when senior Jack Wilson batted him in on an RBI single. 

In the top of the second frame, junior Jeremy Drudge reached second on a ground-rule double. He reached third on a ground out, then he tied the game at one apiece on a wild pitch. WKU could not retaliate going three up and three down to end the second frame of play.

Redshirt senior Steven Fitzsimmons hit another double for the Crusaders, then he advanced to third on a passed ball. Fitzsimmons was left stranded on third to end the top of the third frame. WKU went three up and three down to end the third inning. 

Jorgensen led off the fourth inning with a single. He would advance to second base on a wild pitch then third base on a fielder’s choice. He was caught trying to score to end the top of the fourth frame.

WKU got the bats going in the bottom of the fourth inning. After a lead-off walk, Wilson hit an RBI single to reclaim the WKU lead 2-1. Then Wilson scored on a single by graduate Davis Sims to make it 3-1. Then sophomore Jackson Swiney hit his first homerun of the season on a two run shot to center field to extend WKU’s lead to 5-1. 

WKU added another run after an error committed by Jorgensen. Then Valpo made a pitching change going to freshman Griffin McCluskey for Turzenski. After McCluskey gave up a run on a walk, sophomore Jacob Rosenkranz relieved him. 

Wilson extended the WKU lead on his first homerun of the season with a grand slam. The fourth inning ended after a ground out. WKU led 11-1 after four innings of play.

“It was huge. Ray started us off with a walk and a good AB and then I was able to have a good pitch and hit a double and score him and then it kind of just gave us a lot of momentum from there,” Wilson said.   

Valparaiso could not retaliate in the top of the fifth frame. In the bottom of the fifth frame, sophomore Matthew Meyer was left stranded on third base after a triple to end the fifth frame.

Sophomore Kyle Schmack led off the sixth inning with a single up the middle. Then Jorgensen hit a single, then Peter walked another Valpo batter to load the bases with two outs. Peter got himself out of the jam with a fly-out. 

Junior Zack Fricke relieved Rosenkranz to start the bottom of the sixth frame for Valpo. WKU had nothing to show for in the bottom of the sixth frame.

After a three up and three down top of the seventh inning for Valparaiso, Swiney led off the bottom of the seventh with a double. Swiney was left stranded on second after three straight outs. 

Both teams had nothing to show for in the eighth inning. 

Peter finished a complete game in the top of the ninth as WKU won 11-1. 

“I think the most important thing for us was to find a way to win this series,” Pawlowski said. “We talked about today was basically a one game championship. You play three on the weekend, it’s tied 1-1, you want to win the weekend you got to win on Sunday.”          

Up next WKU will travel to Louisville for their last non-conference game of the season on Tuesday at 5 p.m. 

Baseball beat reporter Wyatt Sparkman can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Wyatt on Twitter at @WyattSparkman3