Oral Roberts Takes Series Opener from Valpo
The Golden Eagles jumped in front in the bottom of the first with three runs, two coming on a Kelly Minissale homerun.
The Crusaders battled back in the second, taking the lead with five runs in the frame. Jason Brunelli (Greenfield, Wis./Greenfield H.S.) led off the inning with a homer, and two batters later Josh Piazza (Glenview, Ill./Notre Dame H.S.) followed with another solo round-tripper. For the Valpo catcher, the blast extended his hitting streak to 13 games. As the Crusaders batted around in the inning, Dallas Cawiezell (Long Grove, Iowa/North Scott H.S.) capped the frame with a three-run double to left.
Oral Roberts' bullpen took over, though, limiting the Brown and Gold to just one more hit until the ninth inning.
Meanwhile, the Golden Eagle offense tied the game in the bottom of the inning and added two more runs in the third and four more in the fourth to build an 11-5 advantage. A five-run seventh inning provided all the insurance runs Oral Roberts would need on the way to the victory.
Eric Crichton (1-4) earned the win for Oral Roberts working 6.1 innings of relief, allowing just two hits while striking out six. Matt Evans (Brighton, Mich./Brighton H.S.) suffered the loss (2-1) for Valpo in relief.
Adam Younger had four hits and four runs batted in for the hosts while Brendan Duffy added three more hits in the Oral Roberts 17-hit attack. John Giusti (Coventry, R.I./Coventry H.S.) had two hits to pace Valpo's offensive attack.
Valparaiso (14-21, 3-2 Mid-Con) and Oral Roberts (22-14, 5-0) will continue their weekend series in Tulsa on Saturday afternoon with a twinbill. First pitch of game one is set for 2 p.m.