Valparaiso used a five-run eighth inning in the opener of Friday's doubleheader to break a tie on the way to a 10-5 victory over Western Illinois. The Leathernecks bounced back in the nightcap to post a 9-1 victory at Emory G. Bauer Field.
Western Illinois jumped in front in the opening inning of the day on a run-scoring ground out off the bat of Matt Newquist. The Crusaders responded with three in the bottom of the inning. Jason Brunelli (Greenfield, Wis./Greenfield H.S.) plated two with a single and Brian Rzepka (South Bend, Ind./Penn H.S.) added a sacrifice fly.
An unearned run in the second and two more unearned runs in the third put the Leathernecks on top 4-3 following Kyle Surprenaunt's RBI single. Valpo retook the lead in the fifth as Dallas Cawiezell (Long Grove, Iowa/North Scott H.S.) hit a two-run homer to deep leftfield, his team-leading fifth blast of the season. The visitors came back and tied the contest in the top of the sixth on a single by Travis Check.
Valpo exploded for five runs in the eighth to break the 5-5 tie, all with two outs. John Giusti (Coventry, R.I./Coventry H.S.) drove in the go ahead runs with a single up the middle to make it 7-5. Two batters later, Michael Arensdorff (Eldridge, Iowa/North Scott H.S.), who went 3-for-4 in the game, doubled to left-center, bringing home two more Crusaders. Cawiezell followed with his third run batted in of the game, a single up the middle to complete the scoring as Valpo sent 10 batters to the plate in the inning.
Harvey Yergin (Akron, Ohio/Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy) went the distance for the victory (4-6), allowing 11 hits and just two earned runs while striking out five. He passed Tim Holmes to become Valpo's career innings pitched leader with 294.2 over his four-year career. Quinn Leath (2-5) suffered the loss for Western Illinois, pitching 7.1 innings and allowing seven runs and 10 hits.
Five Crusaders had multi-hit games in the opener in addition to Arensdorff's three-hit effort as the Brown and Gold banged out 15 hits in all.
Game two saw Travis Tolsma (5-5) allow just one unearned run to the Crusaders in 7.2 innings while scattering seven hits in the victory. Western Illinois scored in the top of the first on a Newquist double, but Valpo answered in the bottom of the frame. Jeff Rickert (Hamilton, Ohio/Fairfield H.S.) led off with a walk and came around to score all the way from first base when Cawiezell reached on an error that got away from the Leathernecks first baseman.
Cooper Stewart put the Leathernecks in front with a single in the second and they added four more runs in the fifth against Crusader starter Elliott Gibbs (Munster, Ind./Munster H.S.). Gibbs (2-6) went just 4.2 innings while suffering the loss.
Western Illinois added three more insurance runs in the eight, two on a homer by Newquist, who had four hits on the day. T.J. Kistner came home on the blast, one of three runs he scored in the game.
Rickert and Brunellie were the only Crusaders with multi-hit efforts in game two, but Cawiezell added a single in the fifth to extend his hitting streak to 11 straight games.
Valparaiso (16-26, 5-5 Mid-Con) and Western Illinois (28-20, 9-5) will conclude their four-game weekend series with another doubleheader on Saturday afternoon at Emory G. Bauer Field. First pitch is set for 12 p.m.