Gary, Ind. - Eddie Hannan's RBI single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth tied the game at 5-5, but Northern Illinois pushed a run across in the top of the 10th and defeated Valpo 6-5 at the U.S. Steel Yard.
Northern Illinois' game-winning tally occurred with one out in the 10th when Eric Sansouci lined an RBI single up the middle, scoring Anthony Venetucci who led off the frame with a single.
Valpo (15-30) took a 1-0 lead in the first on Kevin Kutansky's RBI double, plating Kevin Perri. The Huskies tied the game with a run in the second and added two in the third to take a 3-1 lead.
Free passes hurt the Crusaders as NIU's first five runs were scored by players who either walked (four) or were hit by a pitch. Valpo pitchers issued 11 walks.
Northern Illinois (26-22) extended its lead to 5-1 on Mike Hochhauser's two-run single in the fourth.
The Crusaders came roaring back in the bottom of the fourth with three runs. Tyler Lowell singled home the first run of the frame and Brian Rzepka ripped a two-run single off the glove of the shortstop to cut Valpo's deficit to 5-4.
Both bullpens took control of the contest as neither team scored from the fifth through the top of the ninth.
With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, pinch hitter Josh Piazza worked the count to 3-2 before being hit by a pitch. Piazza, a freshman, then stole the first base of his career before Hannan hammered a single past the shortstop to tie the game at 5-5.
Rzepka finished with two hits and two RBIs, Perri and Kutansky added two hits and one RBI each, and Ryan Manthei tallied two hits.
Adam Knobel (0-1) suffered the loss in relief, allowing one run and two hits in 3 innings. Matt Gillikin started for Valpo, yielding two earned runs in 2 1/3 innings.
Trevor Wohlgemuth (4-2) allowed just his third earned run all season in the ninth and Mark Mallo pitched a scoreless 10th for his first save.
Valpo travels to play Western Illinois in a Mid-Continent Conference doubleheader on Friday beginning at noon CST.