Valparaiso scored eight times in the sixth inning to come from
behind and defeat Youngstown
State 8-7 in the opener
of Saturday’s doubleheader at Emory G. Bauer Field. The Penguins capitalized on six Crusader
errors in the nightcap though to earn a split with a 13-4 victory.
Youngstown State scored first in the opener on a Jacke Healey homer in
the fourth inning, the Penguins’ first hit of the day. The visitors added two more runs in the sixth
on a fielder’s choice and a throwing error to make it 3-0.
Twelve hitters then came to
the plate for Valpo in the bottom of the inning. Matt
Lenski (Milwaukee, Wis./Marquette University H.S.) put the
Crusaders on the scoreboard with a two-run single to right-center. Josh
Wallace (Bellefountaine, Ohio/Bellefountaine
H.S.) followed with a two-run hit of his own to make it 4-3 Valpo, and chase Youngstown State starter Cody Dearth. After reliever Anthony Munoz got the first two
hitters he faced, the Crusaders picked up the bats again. Damon
McCormick (Louisville, Ky./Saint Xavier H.S.) had a runs-scoring
singles and two batters later Dan
DeBruin (Combined Locks, Wis./Kimberly
H.S.) capped the inning with a bases loaded double that cleared the bases.
A three-run homer by Jeremy
Banks in the eighth brought the Penguins to within 8-6, and the guests added
another run in the ninth and had the tying run aboard against closer Jarad Miller (Fort Wayne, Ind./Carroll
H.S.) before he got a double play ball to notch his school record 13th
save of the season, and 22nd of his career.
Alex Berry (Olney, Ill./East
Richland H.S.) went 7.1 innings to earn the win (3-5), striking out three and
allowing seven hits and five earned runs.
DeBruin went 3-for-4 with
three runs batted in while Lenski had a two-hit game, the 21st of
the season for the senior catcher.
Dearth suffered the loss
(2-4) for the Penguins, allowing five runs and six hits in five innings. Banks led YoungstownState’s
offense with a 2-for-4 game and four runs batted in.
“We rallied when we needed
to, and it was all in one inning in the opener,” head coach Tracy Woodson said.
Game two was close until the
seventh inning. Youngstown State
jumped on top in the fourth with a pair of runs on a ground out and a RBI
single by C.J. Morris.
The Crusaders responded with
a run in the bottom of the inning on Andrew
Quinnette’s (Kokomo, Ind./Kokomo H.S.) run-scoring single and he
drove in the second run as well to tie the game at two in the sixth.
The Penguins batted around in
the seventh, scoring five times, four on an inside-the-park grand slam by
Jonathan Crist. Valpo got two runs back
in the bottom of the seventh on DeBruin’s first career homer, but Youngstown State scored three more runs in the
eighth, aided by a Valpo error, and added two more in the ninth as the
Crusaders made three more miscues.
“Our bullpen was not good in
game two, nor was our defense,” said Woodson.
“We still have to play hard whether we have a big lead or a big
Quinnette and Steven Scoby (Delton, Mich./Kellogg
H.S.) each had two hits for Valpo in the night cap, as the Crusaders tallied
just six hits total while striking out 14 times in the game.
H.S.) suffered the loss (6-3), allowing four runs and five hits in 6.1 innings
while striking out five. Phil Klein
earned the win (3-1) for Youngstown
State (13-30, 9-11
Horizon), allowing four runs and six hits in 6.2 innings of work while fanning
10 Valpo hitters.
“We’re happy to win the
series and take two out of three,” concluded Woodson. “However, we’re not satisfied.”
Valparaiso (23-20, 9-9),
which had its five-game winning streak snapped in the night cap, will return to
the diamond on Tuesday evening as the Crusaders host Northwestern at the U.S.
Steel Yard in Gary. First pitch is set
for 7 p.m. with all the action carried live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at www.valpoathletics.com.