Valparaiso used a five-run sixth inning to break open a tight game and defeat Centenary 9-2 on Sunday afternoon at Emory G. Bauer Field to win the four game weekend series with the Gents three games to one.
Ranko Ivetic (Schererville, Ind./Central H.S.) worked seven innings for the victory (2-3), allowing just two runs and seven hits while striking out four. Jay Clites (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer H.S.) came on for the final two innings, allowing just one hit.
Valpo jumped in front in the opening inning. With two outs, Brian Rzepka (South Bend, Ind./Penn H.S.) singled home Dallas Cawiezell (Long Grove, Iowa/North Scott H.S.), who had reached with a walk after the first two runners were retired in the inning.
A two-run homerun by Teddy Saenz in the fifth inning put Centenary (18-21, 1-3 Mid-Con) in front 2-1, but that would be the final time the Gents would find the scoreboard.
The Crusaders answered in the bottom half of the inning. A triple to centerfield by John Giusti (Coventry, R.I./Coventry H.S.) scored Josh Wallace (Bellefontaine, Ohio/Bellfontaine H.S.), and Jeff Rickert (Hamilton, Ohio/Fairfield H.S.) followed with a successful suicide squeeze bunt to give the Brown and Gold the lead 3-2.
Five more runs were tacked on in the sixth as Valpo sent 10 batters to the plate. Wallace started the inning with an RBI single and Jason Brunelli (Greenfield, Wis./Greenfield H.S.) followed with a pinch hit single that ended up scoring two, the second on a fielding error by the outfield. Rickert capped the scoring with a two-run homer down the leftfield line to increase the lead to five.
Cawiezell added his second hit of the day in the eight, an RBI single, to plate Giusti with the Crusaders' final run of the day. Arensdorff, Rzepka, and Wallace all had two-hit days for Valpo, with Arensdorff moving into second place on the career hit list with 247. The senior needs just four more hits to tie Mark Pedersen for the school record.
Johnny Noland (1-6) suffered the loss for the Gents, pitching five innings and allowing three runs and four hits.
Valparaiso (14-20, 3-1) has now won three straight and six of its last eight games. The Crusaders will look to continue the momentum on Wednesday evening when Valpo heads to Notre Dame for a 5:05 p.m. CDT start. The game can be heard live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics.