Seven shutout innings from freshman starter Dalton Lundeen went for naught as the Valpo bullpen allowed three runs in the bottom of the 8th inning to lose 3-1 to #20 Notre Dame (17-9).
Lundeen exchanged zeroes with Notre Dame starter David Hearne for the first four frames.
Outfielder Mark Johnson drew a leadoff walk in the 5th inning. Spencer Mahoney squared around to sacrifice Johnson over to second, but the delivery got away from Hearne and clipped the Valpo shortstop.
Billy Cribbs followed with a successful sac bunt. Third baseman Andy Burns, who entered the at-bat 1-for-10 against left-handed pitching, ripped a line drive to center off lefty reliever Zak Kutsulis to score Johnson. The RBI was Burns' third of the season.
Lundeen continued to keep the Irish offense at bay, dodging a bullet in the 6th. Notre Dame had runners on first and third with one out when cleanup hitter Trey Mancini and his .522 slugging percentage stepped to the dish. Mancini ripped a rocket right at Burns at third base who stepped on the bag for an inning-ending double play.
Lundeen's day was over after tossing seven shutout innings, allowing seven hits and striking out three. The outing was the lefty's best yet as a Crusader. His ERA dropped to 2.49 after Wednesday's start.
Ben Mahar came on in the 8th inning to make his first appearance since March 23rd. The righty struck out the first batter he faced before allowing Frank DeSico to reach on a fielding error. Mahar (2-2) then issued back-to-back walks to Charlie Markson and Eric Jagielo.
With the bases loaded and one out, the Valpo reliever quickly fell behind in the count to the cleanup hitter Mancini. Mancini then laced a 2-0 fastball to center field that emptied the bases after the ball bounced around the outfield grass past Bryce Hara, giving Notre Dame a 3-1 lead.
Sean Fitzgerald worked a scoreless 9th inning for his first save of the season.
Valparaiso drops to 10-17 on the season. They welcome UIC (13-13, 3-3) to town for a three-game set this weekend. First pitch Friday is set for 3:00 pm CT.