back from a game one loss to Wright State on Saturday afternoon and won the
night cap of the doubleheader to remain one-half game in front of the Raiders
in the Horizon League race. Wright State
won the opener 10-4 at Nischwitz Stadium in Dayton, Ohio before the Crusaders
took game two 6-2.
“We swung the bats
really well both games today,” said head coach Tracy Woodson as Valpo finished the day with 23 hits in the two games.
Damon McCormick (Louisville, Ky./Saint Xavier H.S.) went the
distance in game two for his third complete game of the season, earning the
victory (5-5) allowing two runs and eight hits despite having to sit through a
28-minute rain delay in the middle of his outing. He struck out three and walked three for the
Crusaders, helping Valpo bounce back after a game one loss.
was huge for us,” Woodson said. “He’s a
gamer. He came back out after the rain
delay and continued to pitch well, saving our bullpen for the series finale
tomorrow if needed.”
Valpo jumped on top
in the third inning as Andrew Bain
(Indianapolis, Ind./Park Tudor H.S.) singled and stole second before scoring on
a two-out hit by Steven Scoby
(Delton, Mich./Delton Kellogg H.S.).
The Raiders answered
in the bottom of the inning as Jake Hibberd scored on a two-out double by Corey
The game remained
tied into the middle of the fifth when the rains came, forcing the short
delay. After the break, Wright State
took the lead. Back-to-back singles by
Dan Marsh and Hibbard to start the inning put two men on. After a sacrifice bunt, Marsh scored on a ground
out by Davis, who had both of the Raider RBIs in the game.
Wright State took
the 2-1 lead into the seventh when Valpo finally broke through against Raider
starter Michael Woytek. Bobby Martin (Crystal Lake,
Ill./Prairie Ridge H.S.) led off with a single and moved up on a sacrifice
bunt. Michael Morman (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic H.S.) tied the game
with a one-out double to center and advanced to third on a wild pitch as Bain
The walk marked the end of the
day for Woytek, who was relieved by Taylor Braun.
Braun was greeted by
Kyle Gaedele (Arlington Heights,
Ill./Rolling Meadows H.S.), who launched his team-leading sixth home run of the
season deep over the left field wall, just to the left of the 377-foot mark,
giving Valpo a 5-2 advantage.
“Gaedele’s homer was
huge,” Woodson said. “It gave McCormick
a lead to work with.”
Valpo took the
three-run lead into the ninth when the Crusaders added an insurance run. Gaedele led off with a single and Scoby was hit
by a pitch. After a sacrifice bunt, Will Hagel (Arlington Heights,
Ill./Prospect H.S.) delivered a sacrifice fly which gave the Brown and Gold its
final margin of victory.
Morman went 3-for-4
in game two while Martin, Hagel, and Gaedele each had two hits as part of a
13-hit attack for the Crusaders. Marsh
and Hibberd each had two hits for Wright State.
Woytek suffered the
loss (6-3) in the night cap, pitching 6.1 innings and allowing four runs on
The Crusaders opened
game one with a quick lead as well, but were unable to hang on.
Gaedele led off with
a single, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, and scored on a single by Chris Manning (Lake Forest, Calif./El
Toro H.S.). Hagel followed with a RBI
double and scored himself two batters later on a hit by Martin, giving the
Crusaders a 3-0 lead.
Wright State tied
the game in the third on five straight hits, and could have taken the lead but
Manning threw Hibberd out at the plate for the inning’s first out. Jon Gulbransen
(Appleton, Wis./Fox Valley Lutheran H.S.) got out of the jam without further
Martin helped the
Crusaders retake the lead in the fourth with a one-out single. After Corey
Thibault (Tustin, Calif./Foothill H.S.) beat out a bunt for a single,
Morman delivered a run-scoring single into centerfield.
Ryan Ashe tied the
game for Wright State in the bottom of the fifth with a two-out RBI
single. The Raiders then took the lead
for good in the sixth with four unearned runs.
Three straight two-out hits, a single by Hibberd and back-to-back
doubles by Tristan Moore and Davis, gave the hosts an 8-4 advantage.
“We have to make
plays,” Woodson said. “They’re going to
bunt and put pressure on us and we knew it.
The error in the inning on the bunt really hurt us.”
Wright State added another
run in the seventh on a double by Zach Taylor and added the final run in the
eighth on a triple off the bat of Kyle Mossbarger.
Valpo managed just
one baserunner over the final three innings, a lead-off walk by Hagel, who was
promptly erased on a double play.
Casey Henn went the
distance for the win (5-3) for Wright State, allowing 10 hits and four runs
while striking out four and walking just one.
Gulbransen suffered the loss (5-6) for the Crusaders, giving up nine
runs, five of which were earned, and 17 hits in 6.1 innings. He did not walk any Raiders and struck out
Hagel, Martin, and
Morman each had two hits for the Crusaders.
Hagel and Martin finished the day with four hits each while Morman was
5-for-8 with two runs and two runs batted in.
Moore went 4-for-5
for the Raiders while Hibberd drove home three runs in the opener.
13-5 Horizon) and Wright State (29-14, 12-5) will wrap up the three-game
weekend series on Mother’s Day with a single game beginning at 12 p.m. CDT.
“We have a big
opportunity tomorrow to either give ourselves a little room at the top or else
see the league race bunch up even more,” Woodson concluded. “We’ll be ready to go out and battle once again.”