Official Athletic Site of the Valparaiso University Crusaders
Valpo Survives Scare; Downs UIC 8-7 in Opening Game of HL Tourney
Play Video Bryce Hara drove in two runs and scored one in Valpo's 8-7 win over UIC Thursday morning. (Ray Acevedo)
Bryce Hara drove in two runs and scored one in Valpo's 8-7 win over UIC Thursday morning. (Ray Acevedo)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

It's unknown whether the breeze felt after the game was a gust of wind from impending severe weather or the collective exhale from the Crusader dugout. Regardless, Valpo won an 8-7 thriller over UIC in its opening game of the Horizon League Conference Tournament Thursday at Eastwood Field in Niles, Ohio.

Perfect eighth and ninth innings silenced a potential UIC comeback in a tilt where Karch Kowalczyk earned his tenth save and five Crusaders recorded multiple hits.

For the fourth straight game, Valpo played from behind.

Designated hitter Ryan Boss led off the Flames' half of the second with a ground-rule double to center field. Alex De LaRosa then muscled a pitch into right field to set up runners on the corners with no outs.

Webb got catcher Alex Jurich to roll over on a pitch for a double play, but Boss scampered home to give UIC a 1-0 lead.

The Crusaders finally cracked UIC starter Tomas Michelson in the top of the fourth. After Bryce Hara and Tanner Vavra both reached to start the inning, John Loeffler sacrificed the two into scoring position.

Chris Manning bounced a ball down the third base line that caromed off the bag and allowed both runners to score. Manning ended up on second base for his ninth double of the season. 

A Spencer Mahoney ground out to the right side moved Manning up 90 feet. With two away, Elliott Martin bounced an infield single down the third base line that scored Manning. Martin's first run batted in since March 16th gave the Crusaders a 3-1 lead.

Valpo extended its lead to 4-1 in the fifth inning. After reaching on an error, Andrew Bain came around to score on a Hara single to left. The base hit gave Hara his fifth multi-hit game of the year.

A Joe Betcher sacrifice fly cut the deficit in half in the home half of the fifth.

Valpo delivered the knockout blow in its half of the sixth inning. 

Michelson walked Manning, the first batter of the inning, before surrendering back-to-back run-scoring hits. Mahoney rifled a pitch into the right center gap before Martin notched his second RBI single of the day.

2012 Horizon League Tournament MVP Mark Johnson got in on the fun as he peppered the right center field wall with an RBI double. Hara made it an 8-2 game with his sixth sacrifice fly of the season. 

After a scoreless bottom of the sixth inning, the Crusaders appeared to have the game well in hand with a six-run lead. 

But in their third time facing Webb, the Flames belted out a five-run 7th inning. The first four batters of the inning reached against Webb before Ben Mahar was called on in relief.

The sophomore battled command issues in his first inning of work as he allowed all three inherited runners to score as well as another one tagged to him.

With the momentum residing in the UIC dugout, Mahar redeemed himself with a perfect 8th inning.

Kowalczyk worked a perfect 9th inning for his tenth save of the season.

Valpo (29-26) will face the winner of #4 Wright State/#1 Milwaukee tilt on Saturday morning at 11:00 am ET/10:00 am CT.

Chris DeBoo (4-7, 4.78) will make the start for the Crusaders.

W Tennis Valpo 0 Chicago, Ill.
Apr 14 Chicago State 7
M Tennis Valpo 7 Homewood, Ill.
Apr 15 Chicago State 0
Baseball Valpo CCD
Apr 15 Toledo
M Track Cougar Invitational River Forest, Ill.
Apr 17 No Team Score
W Track Cougar Invitational River Forest, Ill.
Apr 17 No Team Score
Baseball Valpo 4 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 17 Milwaukee 0
M Tennis Youngstown State 1 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18 Valpo 6
Baseball Valpo 0 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 18 Milwaukee 3
Softball Oakland 3 VU Softball Field
Apr 18 Valpo 11
W Tennis Youngstown State 7 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18 Valpo 0
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 19 CCD
M Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19 2nd/3 (191)
W Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19 3rd/5 (82)
W Tennis Cleveland State 7 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19 Valpo 0
Softball Oakland 1 VU Softball Field
Apr 19 Valpo 2
Baseball Valpo 0 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 19 Milwaukee 5
Softball Oakland 4 8 inn.
Apr 19 Valpo 2
M Tennis Cleveland State 5 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19 Valpo 2
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 20 12th/15 (314)
Baseball Kalamazoo 3 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 21 Valpo 10
Baseball Ohio Northern 2 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 22 Valpo 1
Softball Valpo 3 Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22 Western Illinois 1
Softball Valpo 5 Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22 Western Illinois 4
Softball Valpo Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 24, 5:00 p.m. #21/21 Notre Dame
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 25, 2:00 p.m. UIC
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 25, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 26, 3:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 2:00 p.m. Wright State
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 27, 2:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 27, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 27, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Western Michigan Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 29, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball IUPUI VU Softball Field
Apr 29, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball IUPUI VU Softball Field
Apr 29, 5:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Chicago State Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 30, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Bloomington, Ind.
Apr 30, 3:00 p.m. Indiana (resumption of suspended game)
Softball Valpo Bloomington, Ind.
Apr 30, 4:00 p.m. Indiana
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 2
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 2
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 2, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 3
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 3
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 3, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 3, 1:00 p.m. Green Bay
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 3, 3:00 p.m. Green Bay
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 4
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 4
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 4, 12:00 p.m. Green Bay
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 4, 12:00 p.m. Valpo