Northeastern pitching limited Valparaiso to just five hits on Saturday morning as the Huskies defeated the Crusaders 7-1 at Lake Myrtle Stadium in Auburndale, Fla.
“We didn’t play well at all today,” head coach Tracy Woodson said. “We were not ready to play and lacked the excitement needed to compete.”
Valpo jumped on top in the bottom of third inning with an unearned run. Paul Heinkel (Fond du Lac, Wis./Winnebago Lutheran Academy) singled up the middle with one out to score Corey Thibault (Tustin, Calif./Foothill H.S.), who had reached on an error by the catcher after striking out.
The Huskies tied the game in the fifth, scoring an unearned run on an error with two outs in the inning. Northeastern then broke through with three runs in the sixth to take the lead. A two-run single by Frank Compagnone started the scoring and a base hit by Keith Ferguson made it 4-1 Huskies.
Valpo threatened in the sixth, putting runners on the corners with one out and loading the sacks with two outs, but was unable to push a run across the plate.
A two-run double by Ferguson in the eighth helped provide insurance runs and Northeastern added one more unearned tally in the inning.
Lew Williams (1-0) earned the victory for Northeastern (4-2), working six innings and allowing just the one unearned run on five hits. He walked just two while striking out seven. Charly Bashara retired all nine hitters he faced to earn his first save of the season, fanning four.
Will Robinson (Placentia, Calif./Valencia H.S.) started and suffered the loss (0-3) for the Crusaders, pitching seven innings, allowing four runs, three earned, and eight hits. He walked just one and struck out five.
“This was the best Will has pitched this season,” Woodson said. “He was locating his fastball well and showed a lot of promise.”
Ryan O’Gara (Buffalo Grove, Ill./Buffalo Grove H.S.) extended his hitting streak to 13 straight games dating back to last year, including all 11 contests this season, while Kyle Gaedele (Arlington Heights, Ill./Rolling Meadows H.S.) hit safely in his ninth straight game for the Brown and Gold.
Logan Gillis went 4-for-4 for Northeastern while Compagnone had three hits for the Huskies.
Valparaiso (3-8) will conclude play in Florida on Sunday morning as the Crusaders face Fairfield at Chain of Lakes Stadium in Winter Haven. First pitch is set for 9 a.m. CST.