Cleveland State scored four times in the late innings on Sunday afternoon to rally and defeat Valparaiso 7-5 at Emory G. Bauer Field to take rubber game of the three-game weekend series.
The Vikings’ Anthony Sambula (1-0) allowed just one hit in relief over 4.1 innings of work to slow the Crusader bats while striking out three to earn the victory.
Valpo got off to a quick start with a three-run homer to leftfield by Josh Wallace (Bellefontaine, Ohio/Bellefontaine H.S.) to score Dan DeBruin (Combined Locks, Wis./Kimberly H.S.) and Zach Rodeghero (New Lenox, Ill./Providence Catholic H.S.), both of whom had singled in the inning. For Wallace, it was his Horizon League leading seventh round-tripper of the season.
A single by Josh Hungerman, his first of four hits on the day, scored Alex Kerins to put Cleveland State on the scoreboard in the third. The Vikings tied the game in the fifth on a homer by Kyle Bischof and a run-scoring double by John Foco, who went 3-for-4 on the day.
Rodeghero, who also went 3-for-4 in the game, hit a two-run homer to left-center in the bottom of the fifth to score DeBruin, who doubled for his second hit of the game, giving Valpo a 5-3 advantage.
A three-run seventh by Cleveland State (7-9, 2-1 Horizon League), capped by a Tom Carter single, put the Vikings in front and they added an insurance run in the eighth.
Valpo committed three errors, all on dropped fly balls, to extend several Viking innings.
“We need to do the fundamentals right,” head coach Tracy Woodson said. “We catch three pop ups we should have and we have a chance to win the game. We need to do the little things to win games. If we did that we’d have four or five more wins right now.”
Derek Smith (Kokomo, Ind./Kokomo H.S.) suffered the loss in relief for the Crusaders, as Valpo’s four relievers gave up four runs on the afternoon following starter Alex Berry’s (Olney, Ill./East Richland H.S.) 4.2 innings of work.
Valparaiso (6-18, 1-2) will host Illinois Tech on Wednesday afternoon at Emory G. Bauer Field in a game that has been added to the schedule. First pitch is set for 3 p.m.