ValpoAthletics.com
Valpo Bats Beat Rain to Finish Sweep of Thunderbirds

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Valparaiso erupted for six runs in the second inning to beat the rain that came and called the game after four-and-a-half innings, but the Crusaders defeated Southern Utah 7-1 to wrap up a sweep of the Thunderbirds at Emory G. Bauer Field on Sunday morning to close out the 2007 regular season.

Jeff Rickert (Hamilton, Ohio/Fairfield H.S.) led off the game for Valpo with a single and eventually scored on a double play grounder to give the Crusaders a quick 1-0 lead.

The Crusaders then sent 10 batters to the plate in the second, scoring six times. Josh Piazza (Glenview, Ill./Notre Dame H.S.) scored on a wild pitch and Rickert used a squeeze bunt to bring home Brian Rzepka (South Bend, Ind./Penn H.S.) with the second run, reaching himself on an error. Zach Rodeghero (New Lenox, Ill./Providence Catholic H.S.) added a two-run single and Ryan Manthei (Kenosha, Wis./Tremper H.S.) scored Michael Arensdorff (Eldridge, Iowa/North Scott H.S.) with a sacrifice fly. Jason Brunelli (Greenfield, Wis./Greenfield H.S.) closed out the damage in the inning with a run-scoring double to left-center.

Southern Utah (11-45, 6-14 Mid-Con) scored its lone run in the rain in the top of the sixth inning on a Crusader throwing error.

Elliott Gibbs (Munster, Ind./Munster H.S.) started and worked three innings, allowing just two hits while striking out three. Jay Clites (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer H.S.) earned the win (3-1), throwing the final two innings. Derek Job (0-10) suffered the loss for the Thunderbirds.

Valparaiso (21-32, 10-10) finishes the regular season in third place in the Mid-Con with a .500 mark in league play for the first time since 2001. The Crusaders will head to Macomb, Ill. on Thursday to begin the Mid-Continent Conference Tournament. Official tournament pairings and schedule will be released early in the week.