Valparaiso’s bats exploded for six runs in the opening inning of game two on Saturday afternoon at Emory G. Bauer Field helping the Crusaders to a doubleheader split against Wright State. The Raiders won the opener 6-2 before Valpo took the nightcap 14-1.
The Crusaders sent 11 batters to the plate in the opening inning, scoring six times. Josh Wallace (Bellefountaine, Ohio/Bellefoutaine H.S.) started the scoring with a run-scoring double down the leftfield line. With runners on second and third, a ground ball to second was thrown away at the plate allowing Steven Scoby (Delton, Mich./Kellogg H.S.) and Wallace to score increasing the lead to 3-0. Damon McCormick (Louisville, Ky./Saint Xavier H.S.) added a bases loaded two-run single later in the inning and with two outs, Dan DeBruin (Combined Locks, Wis./Kimberly H.S.) added a RBI single.
DeBruin’s run-scoring single in the third, his third hit in as many innings, made it 7-0 Crusaders. Wright State scored its lone run in the fifth on a single by Jake Hibbard before Valpo’s bats went to work once again.
The Crusaders batted around again in the fifth, scoring five more times with just one hit. A one-out error by the shortstop on a double play ball scored two runs and a wild pitch plated a third. Ryan O’Gara (Buffalo Grove, Ill./Buffalo Grove H.S.) added the final two runs of the frame with a double to the gap in left-centerfield.
Valpo added two more runs in the seventh on a towering homerun by Wallace to straight away center, his sixth of the season.
Bryce Shafer (Wabash, Ind./Northfield H.S.) earned the win (5-2) on the mound for the Crusaders, pitching seven innings and allowing just one run and six hits while striking out eight. Travis LaMar suffered the loss (2-4) for WrightState, allowing seven runs, five earned, and 11 hits in just three innings.
DeBruin paced the Crusader 14-hit attack with a 3-for-4 night while drawing a walk. Scoby, Wallace, O’Gara, McCormick, and Kyle Muhlsteff (Yorba Linda, Calif./Esperanza H.S.) added two hits a piece for the Crusaders.
“We swung the bats well in the second game,” head coach Tracy Woodson said.
The Crusaders took a lead late into game one as well before squandering six unanswered runs. A two-run homer by Matt Lenski (Milwaukee, Wis./Marquette University H.S.) that plated Scoby as well, in the third inning gave Valpo the lead.
Wright State scored one in the seventh to cut the lead in half with four straight hits, all with two outs. A two-out double in the eighth by Ryan Ashe put the Raiders in front and the visitors tacked on three insurance tallies in the ninth to secure the win.
Alex Berry (Olney, Ill./East Richland H.S.) did not get a decision for the Crusaders despite working seven innings on the mound and allowing just one run and six hits. Jarad Miller (Fort Wayne, Ind./Carroll H.S.) suffered the loss (0-2) in relief, allowing two runs and two hits in 1.1 innings of work. Rylan Ostrosky earned the win (4-3), allowing two runs and eight hits in seven innings for Wright State.
Lenski and McCormick were both 3-for-4 while recording six of Valpo’s eight hits in the game. The Raiders pounded out 11 hits, including eight in the final three innings.
“Our starters, Berry and Shafer, both pitched well today,” Woodson said. “Our starting pitching has been good most of the year. Every game is big for us from here on out to keep pace in the conference.”
Valpo (17-17, 6-6) and Wright State (18-21, 6-6) are tied for third in a bunched Horizon League race midway through the conference slate.
The Crusaders will close their 10-game homestand on Sunday afternoon hosting Saint Francis (Ind.) at Emory G. Bauer Field beginning at 1 p.m. The game can be heard live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at www.valpoathletics.com