South Bend, Ind. - Valpo held an 8-5 lead entering the bottom of the sixth, but Notre Dame scored four runs in the frame and held on to edge the Crusaders 9-8. Brian Rzepka and Colin Reynolds each had three of Valpo's 16 hits.
Valpo loaded the bases in the ninth, but could not push a run across.
Jon Rupno had two hits and two RBIs, while Rzepka, Reynolds, Mike Arensdorff, Josh Piazza and Jeff Rickert added one RBI apiece. Kevin Perri and Arensdorff had two hits each.
Notre Dame's Matt Bransfield delivered a two-out, two-run single in the sixth for the game-tying and winning runs.
Valpo (10-20) jumped on the Irish with three runs in the first. Piazza and Rupno each produced RBI singles. Notre Dame's Craig Cooper belted a grand slam in the bottom of the first.
In the second, the Crusaders tied the game at 4-4 after John Giusti was hit by a pitch, advanced to third on Perri's double and scored on Arensdorff's grounder to second base.
The Crusaders took a 6-4 lead in the third when Rickert and Rzepka had RBI singles. Bransfield' s RBI single in the third pulled Notre Dame within 6-5.
Arensdorff doubled to lead off the fourth and touched home on Reynolds' double. Rupno then plated Reynolds with a single to extend Valpo's lead to 8-5.
Notre Dame (22-15) scored its four runs in the sixth when Matt Edwards coaxed a bases-loaded walk, Cooper forced in another tally after being hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, and Bransfield followed with his two-run single.
Jordan Smolar (0-2) suffered the loss, allowing five earned runs on five hits in 3 1/3 innings. Scott Bickford (2-1) hurled 1 1/3 innings of relief for the victory and Tony Langford pitched the ninth for his first save.
Valpo hosts Southern Utah in a four-game Mid-Continent Conference series on Saturday and Sunday beginning at noon each day.