Valparaiso registered its second doubleheader split of the weekend with North Dakota State on Sunday afternoon, winning the opener 9-6 before dropping the nightcap 9-2.
In the opener, Valpo jumped out to a 4-0 lead only to see the Bison come back and forge a lead of their own heading into the late innings.
Josh Wallace's (Bellefountaine, Ohio/Bellefountaine H.S.) ground out plated Josh Piazza (Glenview, Ill./Notre Dame H.S.) with the game's first run in the second inning. The lead grew to 4-0 in the third. Jeff Rickert(Hamilton, Ohio/Fairfield H.S.) led off the inning with a single and eventually scored on an error by the North Dakota State outfielder. Another outfield error kept the inning alive with two outs and Piazza doubled home both Jason Brunelli (Greenfield, Wis./Greenfield H.S.) and Brian Rzepka (South Bend, Ind./Penn H.S.).
North Dakota State answered with five in the bottom of the inning. Four unearned runs, keyed by a two-out Valpo error for the second straight day, put the Bison in front. Valpo retied the game in the fourth though on a Zach Rodeghero (New Lennox, Ill./Providence Catholic H.S.) single.
The hosts retook the advantage in the sixth and headed into the final third leading 6-5. The lead did not last long, however, as Wallace tied the game with a two-out single. Rickert then gave the Crusaders the lead for good, registering a bases loaded walk. His third hit, and second and third RBIs of the game, came in the ninth, on a double to left-center which gave the Brown and Gold a pair of insurance runs.
Piazza finished the game 4-for-5 with a pair of RBIs while Colin Reynolds (Crookston, Minn./Central H.S.) added three hits as well as part of Valpo's 16-hit attack. North Dakota State racked up 14 hits and was aided by four Crusader errors, but could not mount the late inning comeback.
Harvey Yergin (Akron, Ohio/Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy) went six innings allowing just two earned runs while striking out five to earn the victory (2-5). Dallas Cawiezell(Long Grove, Iowa/North Scott H.S.) came on and pitched the final three innings of scoreless baseball to earn his second save. Greg Plecki (0-1) took the loss in relief for the Bison.
Game two saw Valpo's bats get going early as well, leading to a pair of third inning runs. Rodeghero singled home Rickert and later scored on a dropped fly ball.
A four-run fourth put North Dakota State (5-19) ahead and they added three more in the fifth, aided by two more Crusader errors. The final two runs came in the sixth on a Gavin Hofer double and a fielder's choice.
Rodeghero finished the nightcap with three more hits while Rickert added two. Matt Watson went 3-for-4 for the Bison to lead their 12-hit attack.
Ranko Ivetic(Schererville, Ind./Lake Central H.S.) suffered the loss (1-3), working the first four innings. Matt Mossey (1-2) struck out five and allowed just one earned run in the seven-inning complete game victory for North Dakota State.
Valparaiso (10-19) will return to action on Tuesday afternoon as the Crusaders head to Evanston, Ill. to battle Northwestern. First pitch is set for 3 p.m.