Valparaiso opened its 2007 baseball season on Saturday afternoon splitting a doubleheader with Longwood in Farmville, Va. The Crusaders dropped the opener to the Lancers 4-2 before rebounding to post an 8-5 victory in the nightcap.
A five-run third inning proved to be the difference for the Crusaders in game Ryan Manthei (Kenosha, Wis./Tremper H.S.) singled home Jeff Rickert (Hamilton, Ohio/Fairfield H.S.) and Michael Arensdorff (Eldridge, Iowa/North Scott H.S.). Three batters later, Brian Rzepka (South Bend, Ind./Penn H.S.) hit a three-run homer to put Valpo in front 5-2. Manthei and Dallas Cawiezell (Long Grove, Iowa/North Scott H.S.) both came home on the blast.
Longwood answered with a two-run double by Casey Hevers in the bottom of the inning, but the Crusaders tacked on two insurance runs in the seventh. Cawiezell's sacrifice fly plated Arensdorff and Rzpeka, who went 3-for-4 with four runs batted in, singled in Manthei.
The Lancers added a solo homer in the bottom of the seventh to complete the scoring.
Rickert went 4-for-4 while Manthei was 3-for-4 for the Crusaders in the win as Valpo pounded out 15 hits.
Elliott Gibbs (Munster, Ind./Munster H.S.) started and worked three innings for the Crusaders, allowing two earned runs, before Jay Clites (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer H.S.) (1-0) came out of the bullpen, pitching three scoreless innings to earn the victory. Kevin Light (2-2) suffered the loss for Longwood, pitching just 2.1 innings while yielding five runs and eight hits.
In the opener, Harvey Yergin (Akron, Ohio/Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy) pitched seven strong innings for the Crusaders, allowing just two runs, one earned, and seven hits while striking out two.
Longwood scored a pair of runs in the eighth off of Peter Burg (Saint Joseph, Minn./Saint Cloud Cathedral H.S.) (0-1) which proved to be the difference. Phil Cerreto homered to left-center to lead off the inning and Frank Berry II singled home Jon Quigley who had tripled.
Valpo scored first in the fourth inning on a two-run double by Zach Rodeghero (New Lenox, Ill./Providence Catholic H.S.). He plated Arensdorff , who went 3-for-3 with a double in the game, along with Colin Reynolds (Crookston, Minn./Central H.S.).
The Lancers scored a run in the bottom of the fourth on a RBI double and added another unearned run to tie the game in the sixth.
Brian McCullough started for Longwood, working 7.2 innings and striking out nine. Needham Jones III (2-1) earned the win in relief.
Valparaiso (1-1) and Longwood (9-6) will wrap up their three-game weekend series on Sunday afternoon with a 12 p.m. contest in Farmville.