Youngstown State’s pitching staff limited Valparaiso to just one run over 18 innings of play on Saturday afternoon, sweeping a Horizon League doubleheader from the Crusaders 6-0 and 3-1 in Niles, Ohio.
In the opener, Corey Vukovic (1-1) shut the Crusaders out through seven innings of work, scattering just six hits and striking out seven without walking a batter. The only threat Valpo mounted against the starter was in the sixth when the Brown and Gold had runners on second and third with no one out, but back-to-back strikeouts helped foil the scoring opportunity.
Youngstown State struck first in the opening inning on a run-scoring single by Erich Diedrich. A wild pitch in the second made it 2-0 Penguins before the hosts sent 10 batters to the plate in the fifth inning, scoring four times. A triple by Sean Lucas started the scoring and Diedrich had his second RBI of the game.
Bryce Shafer (Wabash, Ind./Northfield H.S.) suffered the loss (1-3) for Valpo, allowing six runs and eight hits in 4.1 innings of work.
Game two saw Aaron Swenson (2-2) toss a complete game seven-hitter, allowing just one run while striking out 10 Crusaders. He did not walk a batter.
Valpo jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second as Ryan O’Gara (Buffalo Grove, Ill./Buffalo Grove H.S.) doubled and scored on a ground out off the bat of Brett Bivens (Battle Creek, Mich./Lakeview H.S.). O’Gara had a pair of hits for the Crusaders, as did Matt Lenski (Milwaukee, Wis./Marquette University H.S.).
A single by Lucas tied the game in the third and an unearned run in the fifth game Youngstown State (9-17, 3-3 Horizon League) the lead. The hosts added an insurance run in the eighth on Lucas’ second RBI of the game.
Alex Berry (Olney, Ill./East Richland H.S.) suffered the loss (1-4) for the Crusaders, working seven innings and allowing just two earned runs and eight hits.
“We pitched pretty well today,” head coach Tracy Woodson said. “But their pitchers just shut us down and we had some problems fielding the ball.”
Valparaiso (8-20, 3-5) will return to the diamond on Tuesday afternoon as the Crusaders head to Notre Dame. First pitch against the Fighting Irish is set for 4:05 p.m. CDT.