Macomb, Ill. - Valpo and Western Illinois played two close games, but the Leathernecks swept a Mid-Continent Conference doubleheader from the Crusaders by scores of 4-2 and 8-7.
Kevin Kutansky and Colin Reynolds each had two hits and two RBIs in the second game, and Brian Rzepka finished the day with two hits and an RBI.
In the first game, Valpo's Tom Starck and WIU's James Kalinowski were involved in a scoreless pitcher's duel for the first 5 1/2 innings.
The Leathernecks broke through in the sixth for two runs before the Crusaders responded with two of their own in the top of the seventh. With two outs, Rzepka singled and Jeff Rickert was hit by a pitch before Mike Arensdorff's RBI single plated Rzepka and advanced Rickert to third. Rickert raced home after a wild pitch to tie the game at 2-2.
WIU's Blake Schultz delivered the big hit of the game in the eighth with a two-run homer, scoring Dane Ainsworth who led off with a double.
Starck (4-8) and Kalinowski (5-4) both went the distance. A senior lefty, Starck hurled 8 innings, allowing four runs and seven hits. He fanned seven and walked three. Kalinowski limited Valpo to two runs and three hits, while striking out 10 and yielding three walks.
In the nightcap, Western Illinois took a 6-1 lead before Valpo tallied four in the fourth. Rzepka singled home one run and Kutansky produced a two-run single before Reynolds added an RBI single.
The Leathernecks scored one in the bottom of the fourth. Valpo (15-32, 7-11) cut its deficit to 7-6 on Troy Garrett's RBI double in the fifth, scoring Eddie Hannan, who doubled to lead off the frame.
Western Illinois (26-32, 12-10) added a run in the fifth and the Crusaders's seventh-inning rally was limited to one run when Jon Rupno scored on a wild pitch.
Kyle Malan belted his 11th home run for WIU and is one shy of the school's single-season record.
Kyle Obenauf (3-6) suffered the loss, allowing three earned runs and four hits in 1 1/3 innings. Nathan Miller (6-4) was credited with the victory for WIU. Ryan Schmidgall picked up his third save.
The two teams play another doubleheader on Saturday beginning at noon.