Valparaiso rallied from deficits in both games of Wednesday's doubleheader with Bowling Green to tie the Falcons late, but dropped one run decisions in both contests, falling 7-6 in 10 innings in the opener and 5-4 in the nightcap.
The opener was a pitchers' dual through five innings until Bowling Green struck with three in the sixth to take a 4-0 lead into the late innings. The Crusaders tied the game in the eighth to force extra innings.
With two outs in the eighth, Jason Brunelli (Greenfield, Wis./Greenfield H.S.) singled home Zach Rodeghero (New Lenox, Ill./Providence Catholic H.S.) and Mark Schoeck (Bellefontaine, Ohio/Bellefontaine H.S.) to cut the deficit in half. Dallas Cawiezell (Long Grove, Iowa/North Scott H.S.) followed with a pinch-hit run-scoring single and Jeff Rickert (Hamilton, Ohio/Fairfield H.S.) tied the game with a base hit that scored Brunelli.
In the Falcons tenth, Josh Dietz hit a three-run homer to put Bowling Green in front. Valpo battled back in the bottom of the inning. With two outs and the bases loaded, Michael Arensdorff (Eldridge, Iowa/North Scott H.S.) doubled home Brunelli and Rodeghero but Rickert was thrown out at the plate trying to tie the game.
Rickert went 4-for-4 in the game for the Crusaders, as the Brown and Gold pounded out 14 hits in the loss. Derek Smith (Kokomo, Ind./Kokomo H.S.) (0-1) suffered the loss in relief for Valpo while Phil Hettlinger (1-0) earned the win for the Falcons.
In game two, Valpo jumped in front with a Ryan Manthei (Kenosha, Wis./Tremper H.S.) double in the top of the first. Bowling Green (6-3) answered with two in the bottom of the frame.
Brian Rzepka's (South Bend, Ind./Penn H.S.) two-run single in the third put the Crusaders back in front, only to have the Falcons answer with two more in the bottom of the inning.
Valpo tied it in the top of the fourth on Arensdorff's RBI ground out that brought Joe Lazar (Traverse City, Mich./Central H.S.) home.
Bowling Green scored in the winning run in the fifth on a single by Jeffrey Telmanik and Kurt Wells came on to get the save for the Falcons.
Elliott Gibbs (Munster, Ind./Munster H.S.) (0-1) suffered the loss for Valpo, working 4.1 innings and striking out six.
Valparaiso (2-5) will return to the diamond on Saturday afternoon as the Crusaders face Akron in a single game in Bradenton. First pitch is set for 2 p.m. CST.