Indianapolis, Ind. - Valpo's Mike Arensdorff had three hits and four RBIs, but Butler's eight-run fifth inning propelled the Bulldogs to a 17-12 victory over the Crusaders. Colin Reynolds and John Giusti added two hits and two RBIs apiece.
Kevin Perri and Matt Augustine (one RBI) also had two hits for Valpo.
Valpo (19-29) erupted for a five-run ninth, highlighted by Giusti's two-run homer, the first roundtripper of his career. Arensdorff added a two-run double, his 19th two-bagger of the season.
The game took a rollercoaster ride on the scoreboard as the Crusaders led 3-2 in the third and 6-3 in the fourth before the Bulldogs tied the game in the bottom of both frames.
In the fifth, Butler (18-30) scored eight times to take a 14-6 lead. Robby Santoni's grand slam keyed a six-hit attack during the uprising.
After trailing 2-0 in the third, Valpo grabbed a 3-2 lead as a result of RBIs by Augustine and Jon Rupno. The first run scored on a wild pitch.
After Butler tied the game on Matt Martino's third-inning RBI single, the Crusaders regained a 6-3 advantage in the fourth. Reynolds ripped a two-run single and Arensdorff plated another run with a single.
The Bulldogs bounced back again with three in the fourth to knot the contest at 6-6. Stephen Gill's two-run single produced a brand new game entering the fifth.
Butler added one in the seventh and two in the eighth, while Valpo pushed a run across in the eighth on Arensdorff's RBI groundout.
Jordan Smolar (2-3) , the first of six Crusader pitchers, allowed eight earned runs and nine hits in 4 innings. Jim Knytych (4-5) hurled 5 2/3 innings of relief to earn the victory. He allowed six earned runs and six hits.
Dustin Bucalo and Alex Rinearson had three hits each for Butler.
Valpo hosts Centenary on Saturday and Sunday in a crucial Mid-Continent Conference four-game series. The Crusaders (8-10 Mid-Con) are currently in fifth place, while Centenary (10-10) is tied for third place. Valpo must win three of the four games to overtake the Gents for the third or fourth spot in the Mid-Con Tournament (May 26-28 at Tulsa, Okla.). Southern Utah (9-9), which is also battling for one of the four spots, hosts second-place Western Illinois (13-7) in Thursday and Friday twinbills.