Cedar City, Utah - Eric Brauer limited Southern Utah to one run over 5 1/3 innings as Valpo defeated the Thunderbirds 5-2 in the second game of a Mid-Continent Conference doubleheader. Southern Utah won the first game 9-8 in 11 innings.
Valpo (15-28, 7-8 Mid-Con) led 3-0 as Brauer held Southern Utah scoreless through the first five innings. Still holding a 3-1 advantage after the Thunderbirds tallied a run in the bottom of the sixth, the Crusaders received a solo homer from Kevin Perri and an RBi double from Colin Reynolds in the seventh.
Chris Riley, who induced a double play to escape a jam in the sixth, pitched the seventh for his first career save.
Brauer (2-1) allowed one run and six hits, while striking out one and walking none as Valpo snapped a two-game losing streak.
Mike Arensdorff, Reynolds and Ryan Manthei had two hits each for Valpo.
Jason Gillins (0-4) hurled 6 innings, allowing two earned runs. The Thunderbirds committed four errors in the contest.
In the first game - scheduled to be a 7-inning contest - Valpo plated two runs in the top of the 11th to take an 8-6 lead. However, Southern Utah (12-24, 6-9) scored three runs in the bottom of the 11th to win. The game-tying and game-winning runs scored on a throwing error by the second baseman as the Crusaders were attempting to complete a double play to end the game.
The Crusaders pounded out 17 hits in the game, including five doubles. Seven Valpo players had two-or-more hits, led by Arensdorff and Kevin Kutansky with three each. Valpo scored four runs in the third, highlighted by RBI doubles from Kutansky and Reynolds, as well as an RBI single from Arensdorff.
In Valpo's 11th, Kutansky scored on Hannan's RBI ground ball that was misplayed into an error. After Jon Rupno singled, Tyler Lowell lifted a sacrifice fly to score Hannan.
Kyle Obenauf started on the mound for the Crusaders, allowing three earned runs. Riley (1 inning) and Adam Knobel (3 innings) held Southern Utah scoreless. Glendon Seal (0-1) suffered the loss.
Jeff Rickert, Hannan, Reynolds, Manthei and Rupno each had two hits, while Kutansky finished with two RBIs.
The two teams conclude the four-game series on Saturday with a 9-inning game beginning at 1 p.m. CST.