Valparaiso took a 2-0 lead midway through on Tuesday afternoon, but a 10-run eighth inning by Central Michigan led the Chippewas to a 13-2 victory over the Crusaders in Mount Pleasant, Mich.
Valpo jumped on the scoreboard in the opening inning. Dan DeBruin (Combined Locks, Wis./Kimberly H.S.) led off the game with a double and scored two batters later on Zach Rodeghero’s (New Lenox, Ill./Providence Catholic H.S.) RBI single through the right side. The fifth-year senior, and Horizon League’s leading hitter, also extended his hitting streak to 14 straight games.
The Crusaders added to the lead in the fifth as DeBruin led off with a walk. After Brett Bivens (Battle Creek, Mich./Lakeview H.S.) singled to move DeBruin into scoring position, Rodeghero again singled to increase the lead to 2-0.
Central Michigan (20-18) tied the game in the bottom of the fifth as Casey Ingle’s ground out plated Jeff Nowaczyk, who doubled to lead off the inning. Tyler Helsen added a run-scoring single to left to tie the game at two.
Noah Lankford put the Chippewas in front in the sixth with a double down the leftfield line to score Brenden Emmitt, who led off the inning with a walk.
The Crusaders threatened to tie the game in the seventh, putting runners on the corners with no one out. A fielder’s choice retired Rodeghero at the plate for the first out, and a strikeout and fly out got the hosts out of the jam.
The Chippewas added to their lead in the eighth as Matt Fairman singled with the bases loaded to score two runs. Tyler Stovall added a two-run triple as Central Michigan took a 7-2 lead. The hosts tacked on six more runs in the inning for insurance to record their 13th win in their last 16 games.
Rodeghero finished the game 3-for-5 for the Crusaders while Bivens also went 3-for-4 with a walk. Central Michigan had a 13-hit attack on the afternoon and Fairman drove in a team-high four runs.
John Snelten (Ingleside, Ill./Antioch H.S.) started and suffered the loss (1-1) for the Crusaders while Bryce Morrow (1-3) earned the win for Central Michigan, working seven innings.
Valparaiso (10-24) will return to Emory G. Bauer Field on Wednesday afternoon to begin a four-game homestand. First pitch against Judson College is set for 3 p.m.