Valparaiso’s bullpen allowed just one hit over the final four innings and the Crusaders scored four times from the sixth inning on to defeat IPFW 8-4 on Wednesday afternoon at Emory G. Bauer Field.
A ninth inning single was the lone Mastodon hit beginning in the sixth after IPFW tied the game at four. Austin Siewic (Aurora, Ill./Marmion Academy) earned his first victory (1-0) of the season, striking out two in 1.1 innings of work.
“Our bullpen was very good today and we had some good at bats after they tied the game,” head coach Tracy Woodson said. “We got some hits when we needed them.”
Valpo jumped in front in the opening inning as Dan DeBruin (Combined Locks, Wis./Kimberly H.S.) scored on a Zach Rodeghero (New Lenox, Ill./Providence Catholic H.S.) single to extend his hitting streak to 21 straight games. Andrew Quinnette (Kokomo, Ind./Kokomo H.S.) followed with a hit that plated Rodeghero, who advanced to second on a passed ball. The Crusaders had the bases loaded with one out in the opening inning, chasing IPFW starter Ryan VanDriessche. Scott Wells came on and got the Mastodons out of the jam without further damage.
Garrett Segraves cut the Crusader lead in half in the second with a RBI single before Valpo added two more in the third. A wild pitch scored Rodeghero, who walked to lead off the inning. Justin Frane (Fort Wayne, Ind./Carroll H.S.) scored Quinnette, who had doubled, with a single to increase the advantage to 4-1.
Segraves second single of the game cut the lead to two in the fourth and back-to-back homers by Devin Taylor and Jared Davis in the fifth tied the score. From there Valpo’s bullpen took over. Andy Parker (Ottawa Hills, Ohio/Ottawa Hills H.S.), Siewic, Steve Godawa (Buffalo Grove, Ill./Buffalo Grove H.S.), and Jarad Miller (Fort Wayne, Ind./Carroll H.S.) combined to allow just four baserunners the rest of the way.
A bases loaded walk in the sixth to Jason Brunelli (Greenfield, Wis./Greenfield H.S.) put Valpo on top and the Crusaders added another in the seventh on a double by Rodeghero. A Frane double in the eighth along with a Damon McCormick (Louisville, Ky./Saint Xavier H.S.) single plated two insurance runs to secure the victory.
Quinnette and DeBruin had three hits a piece as part of Valpo’s 15-hit attack while Shaun VanDriessche had three hits for the Mastodons.
Ben Boehne suffered the loss (1-3) in relief for IPFW (11-28-1), allowing just one run in three innings of work.
Valparaiso (14-27) will head to Milwaukee, Wis. this weekend for a key three-game Horizon League series with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. First pitch on Friday is set for 2 p.m.