Valpo baseball trio recognized with MVC Scholar-Athlete status

The Valparaiso University baseball team had a pair of repeat honorees as the Missouri Valley Conference announced its scholar-athlete teams on Thursday. Senior outfielder Steven Fitzsimmons (Golden Valley, Minn. / Robbinsdale Cooper) and senior pitcher Jon Tieman (Crystal Lake, Ill. / Prairie Ridge) were once again named to the MVC Scholar-Athlete First Team, while senior pitcher Easton Rhodehouse (Gilbert, Ariz. / Highland) earned MVC Scholar-Athlete Honorable Mention.

Fitzsimmons received the honor for the second straight season, while Tieman joined Bradley’s Luke Shadid as the only players in the conference to three-peat with MVC Scholar-Athlete First Team recognition in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Tieman adds to his long list of accolades that already included 2019 MVC Scholar-Athlete First Team, 2018 All-MVC Honorable Mention, 2018 MVC Scholar-Athlete First Team, 2017 Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Freshman All-American and 2017 Horizon League All-Freshman Team. The right-handed hurler ranked second on the team with a 3.12 ERA while appearing in four games, all in relief, and logging 8 2/3 innings during the COVID-19 shortened season.

A finance major with a 3.72 cumulative grade point average, Tieman racked up 11 strikeouts while holding opponents to a .194 batting average this year. He did not allow a run in any of his final three appearances, spanning 6 1/3 innings. Tieman struck out five and walked just one while yielding one hit over four scoreless frames to earn the victory on March 10 at Alabama State. During the 2019 season, he accrued 78 strikeouts to lead the team, the most by a Valpo pitcher since 2015. Tieman paced the squad in punchouts for the third straight season in 2019, becoming the second consecutive Valpo pitcher to do so as Dalton Lundeen led the team in that area from 2014-2016. Before Lundeen, the last pitcher to lead the team in strikeouts in three straight seasons was Shawn Barker from 1988-1990. Tieman has 196 career strikeouts through the 2020 season, six shy of cracking the Top 10 in program history. He also ranks tied for ninth in program history in career saves.

Fitzsimmons was featured in the MVC Scholar-Athlete Spotlight on March 4 of this season. He played in 13 games and made 12 starts during the COVID-19 shortened campaign. The left-handed hitting outfielder had five hits including one triple and scored two runs while drawing five walks and being hit by a pitch twice. He had two multi-hit games – Feb. 22 at No. 3 Louisville and March 8 at Georgia Southern. The March 8 game at Georgia Southern included his lone triple of the season and the fourth of his career.

A political science major with a glowing GPA of 3.96, Fitzsimmons had a breakout junior season in 2019, playing in 49 of the team’s 50 games and making 45 starts after playing in just 16 games and making three starts as a sophomore. He went from a .195 hitter with one double over his first two seasons to batting .268 with nine doubles as a junior.

Rhodehouse adds to his list of distinctions that already included 2019 All-MVC Honorable Mention and 2017 Horizon League All-Freshman Team. The righty appeared in eight games and made six starts during the COVID-19 shortened season, one of four players in the nation to start six games, tying for the NCAA Division-I lead in that category. He ranked third on the team in ERA at 3.45 and struck out a team-high 20 while issuing just four bases on balls over 15 2/3 innings. Rhodehouse did not allow a run in any of his final four appearances – all starts – a scoreless streak that spanned nine innings in which he permitted just five hits and issued two walks. A political science major with a 3.40 GPA, Rhodehouse finished the 2019 season with a team-best 3.82 ERA and is tied for seventh in program history in career saves.

The criteria for the Missouri Valley Conference Scholar-Athlete Team voting parallels the CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America) standards for Academic All-America voting. Nominees must be starters or important reserves with at least a 3.30 cumulative grade point average. Student-athletes must have reached sophomore athletic and academic standing at their institution and must have completed at least one full academic year at their institution. The Valley’s scholar-athlete team is voted on by the league's baseball sports information directors.

2020 MVC Baseball Scholar-Athlete First-Team

Name, School Yr. Pos. GPA Major Hometown (Previous School)

Austin Bell, DBU Sr. OF 3.87 Marketing Albuquerque, N.M. (New Mexico)

Dan Bolt, Bradley Sr. OF 3.30 Business (Finance) Morton, Ill. (Morton)

Joe Butler, Illinois State # Sr. SS 3.71 Agribusiness Channahon, Ill. (Minooka)

Burl Carraway, DBU # Jr. P 3.69 Business College Station, Texas (A&M Consolidated)

Jack Duffy, Missouri State &* Sr. OF 3.70 Advertising & Promotion Kansas City, Mo. (Staley)

Steven Fitzsimmons, Valparaiso # Sr. OF 3.96 Political Science Golden Valley, Minn. (Robbinsdale Cooper)

Kragen Kechely, DBU &^ Sr. P 3.84 Sports Management Austin, Texas (Vista Ridge)

Collin Liberatore, Indiana State # Sr. P 3.66 Communications Greensburg, Penn. (Pittsburgh)

Michael Sebby, Illinois State Sr. P 3.83 Molecular/Cellular Biology Lombard, Ill. (Glenbard East)

Luke Shadid, Bradley #^ Sr. SS 3.57 Masters Business Admin Peoria, Ill. (Notre Dame HS)

Peyton Sherlin, DBU & Jr. P 3.90 Sports Management Deer Park, Texas (Deer Park)

Jon Tieman, Valparaiso #^ Sr. P 3.72 Finance Crystal Lake, Ill. (Prairie Ridge)

Ian Walters, Southern Illinois Sr. 3B 3.88 Sport Administration Paducah, Ky. (Rend Lake College)

#2019 First Team &2019 Honorable Mention ^2018 First Team *2018 Honorable Mention

2020 MVC Baseball Scholar-Athlete Honorable Mention

Name, School Yr. Pos. GPA Major Hometown (Previous School)

Tanner Craig, Evansville Jr. 1B 3.39 Finance Scottsburg, Ind. (Austin)

Brendan Dougherty, Bradley Sr. 3B 3.50 Communications Des Moines, Iowa (Dowling Catholic)

Tyler Grauer, Indiana State & Sr. P 3.50 Sport Management Shawnee, Kan. (Mill Valley)

Brad Harrison, Southern Illinois &* Sr. P 3.64 Civil Engineering O'Fallon, Ill. (O'Fallon)

Mason Hiser, Southern Illinois Sr. P 3.39 Sport Administration Augusta, Kan. (Barton College)

Jed Moscot, Bradley Sr. P 3.93 History Pacific Palisades, Calif. (Cuesta C.C.)

Easton Rhodehouse, Valparaiso Sr. P 3.40 Political Science Gilbert, Ariz. (Highland)

Austin Ulick, Southern Illinois Sr. C 3.82 Sport Administration Washington, Ill. (Illinois Central College)

&2019 Honorable Mention *2018 Honorable Mention