out the 2011 regular season on Saturday afternoon, splitting a doubleheader
against the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee at Henry Aaron Field in
Milwaukee, Wis. The host Panthers won
the opener 6-5 in 10 innings before Valpo scored in eight of the nine
innings in the night cap to post a 14-2
The Crusaders broke
out the bats in game two, tallying season highs for runs and hits in a game
this year. Valpo tallied 18 hits while
also taking advantage of eight Panther walks and five hit batsmen.
“Hopefully the bats
will stay hot for us heading into next week’s tournament,” head coach Tracy Woodson said. “We had contributions from about everyone in
the win in game two.”
singles by Robbie Robinson (Brea,
Calif./Olinda H.S.) and Bobby Martin
(Crystal Lake, Ill./Prairie Ridge H.S.) plated the game’s first two runs in the
opening inning. Chris Manning (Lake Forest, Calif./El Toro H.S.) added a
run-scoring hit in the second and Ryan O’Gara
(Buffalo Grove, Ill./Buffalo Grove H.S.) had a RBI single in the third as Valpo
jumped out to a 4-0 lead.
continued to pile on runs, scoring a pair in the fourth on a single by Kyle Gaedele (Arlington Heights,
Ill./Rolling Meadows H.S.) which was misplayed by a Milwaukee outfielder for an
error as well. Martin added a RBI ground out in the fourth and Robinson’s
second hit of the game made it 7-0 Valpo through five.
Milwaukee scored a
run in the sixth on a home run by Cole Kraft, who had three hits in the game,
but Valpo’s offense went back to work in the seventh after failing to score in
the sixth, the only inning the Brown and Gold was kept off of the
scoreboard. Martin drove home his third
run of the game in the seventh with a single, giving him a multi-hit game.
Will Hagel (Arlington Heights, Ill./Prospect H.S.) increased the lead to 9-1 in
the eighth with his RBI hit before the Panthers added their final run in the
bottom of the eighth on a double by Sam Sivilotti.
Valpo piled on five
more runs in the ninth, batting around.
An error brought home the first run of the inning and Andrew Bain (Indianapolis, Ind./Park Tudor H.S.) tallied
a RBI hit. A bases loaded ground out by
Hagel plated the third fun of the frame, and Bain added the fourth scoring on a
wild pitch. Robinson capped the scoring
with a run-scoring double for his third run batted in of the contest.
with three hits in four at bats, reaching safely six times in the game after
being hit twice and drawing a walk as well.
O’Gara also went 3-for-4 while Michael Morman (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic H.S.) and
Manning each added three hits as well, giving Valpo four players with three-hit
Jon Gulbransen (Appleton,
Wis./Fox Valley Lutheran H.S.) gave Valpo a strong start, working five innings
of shutout baseball for the win (6-7).
The victory was the 18th of his career, moving him into fourth
place on the Crusaders’ career chart. He
also became Valpo’s career innings pitched leader with 319.1, passing Tim
Holmes (1984-1987) for the top spot.
Gulbransen allowed four hits and two walks while striking out one on the
Jordan Guth started
and suffered the loss (1-5) for Milwaukee (27-26-1, 15-10-1 Horizon), allowing
six runs, four of which were earned, and seven hits in three plus innings of
work. He walked five, hit one, and struck out just one.
The opener saw Valpo
jump on top in the second inning. After a
walk to Hagel, Manning singled to center and the ball got by Doug Dekoning,
allowing Hagel to come all the way around to score.
Milwaukee tied the game
in the fourth on a single by Sivilotti before the Crusaders retook the lead in
the fifth. Gaedele launched his
team-leading seventh home run of the season, a two-run shot that landed well
beyond the left-center field wall, scoring Morman who had reached on an error.
A Tell Taylor RBI
single in the fifth pulled Milwaukee within one and the Panthers tied the game
in the sixth on a Crusader throwing error on a sacrifice bunt attempt. A Sam Koenig sacrifice fly in the seventh put
the hosts on top 4-3 heading into the ninth.
Valpo rallied with a
lead-off single by Hagel followed by a double to the gap from Robinson, tying
the game. After a sacrifice bunt moved
Robinson to third, a failed squeeze bunt resulted in a caught stealing at the
plate, but allowed Corey Thibault
(Tustin, Calif./Foothill H.S.) to reach on the dropped third strike when the catcher
tagged Robinson out instead.
walk to Morman, Bain put Valpo on top with a single into left.
“This was the second
straight game we battled back and tied it in the ninth,” Woodson said. “Today we even took the lead, but we have to
finish out ball games.”
Milwaukee tied the
game with two outs in the bottom of the ninth as Dekoning walked on a 3-2 pitch
and Sivilotti delivered a run-scoring double.
In the 10th, a two-out single by Cole Kraft plated the
winning run from third.
Robinson and Bain
each had two hits for Valpo as part of an eight-hit attack while Sivilottie
went 4-for-5 with two RBIs for the Panthers.
Tyler Deetjen (Saint Charles, Ill./East H.S.) worked seven
innings on the mound but did not earn a
decision, allowing four runs and nine
hits. He did not walk a
batter. Milwaukee starter Eric Semmelhack
also had a no decision after pitching seven innings. He allowed three runs,
only one of which was earned, and five hits while fanning eight. Greg Blohowiak earned the win (2-1) for the
Panthers out of the bullpen with 1.1 innings of scoreless relief while Mike Jacobs (Beloit, Wis./Turner H.S.)
suffered the loss (0-1) for the Crusaders.
14-10) will head to Dayton, Ohio on Wednesday to begin the Horizon League
Tournament. The Crusaders will open with
Butler at 10 a.m. CDT at Nischwitz Stadium on the campus of Wright State
University in the double elimination event.