Valpo stranded seven runners in the last three innings of Sunday's 4-3 loss to UIC as the Crusaders lost their ninth one-run loss of the season.
The Crusaders had to play catch up as Ryan Shober singled in Ryan Boss in the top of the 2nd to give the Flames a 1-0 lead.
Down 2-0, Valpo got on the board in the home half of the 4th inning. Shortstop Spencer Mahoney plated Chris Manning with the third of three consecutive Crusader singles off starter Ian Lewandowski.
The Flames added two insurance runs in the top of the 5th. Andres Ortegano and Tyler Detmer hit back-to-back doubles off Kyle Wormington with one out. With a 3-0 count on UIC first baseman Alex Grunenwald, Detmer took off for third base. The pitch was called a ball and Billy Cribbs' throw down to third was in plenty of time, but Detmer's slide dislodged the ball out of third baseman Andy Burns's glove.
Detmer scored on the next play when designated hitter Ryan Boss grounded into a fielder's choice that allowed the outfielder to scamper home.
Down three runs, Valpo had golden opportunities in each of the final three innings. The Crusaders loaded the bases in the seventh inning with two outs before Lewandowski got cleanup hitter John Loeffler to fly out to center field to end the threat.
UIC skipper Mike Dee called on closer Jack Andersen to get the final six outs of the game after Lewandowski (3-1) allowed the first two batters in the 8th inning to reach.
Cribbs hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score Manning before Burns laid a bunt down the first base line that Andersen overthrew the first baseman. The error, which allowed Andrew Bynum to score from second base, made it a 4-3 game.
Bryce Hara followed with a single to put two men on for left fielder Andrew Bain. Andersen coaxed a pop-up off the bat to Bain for the third out of the 8th inning.
Tanner Vavra led off the bottom of the 9th with a flare to right field. It was the third straight frame that the leadoff man reached for Valparaiso.
A Loeffler sacrifice bunt moved Vavra up to second. Manning was hit on the first delivery from Andersen before Bynum flew out to right field.
Mahoney represented the last hope for the Crusaders, but the sophomore got under a 2-0 fastball for a popout to short right field for the final out.
Wormington (1-6) was tagged with the loss. The senior worked five innings, surrendering eight hits, three earned runs, one walk and five strikeouts.
The bullpen allowed just one hit in four innings of work.
Valparaiso (11-19, 2-7 HL) will have Monday off before traveling to Crestwood, Illinois on Tuesday to take on the Northwestern Wildcats (14-10, 4-5) of the Big Ten. First pitch is slated for 6:30 pm CT at Standard Bank Stadium.