Valparaiso pitchers struck out 12 on Wednesday afternoon and the offense used a six-run second inning to defeat Illinois Tech 9-4 at Emory G. Bauer Field in non-conference action.
Valpo starter John Snelten (Ingleside, Ill./Antioch H.S.) struck out four in five innings of work, while facing the minimum through four innings. The redshirt junior allowed three hits and four runs, all in the fifth, three on a double by Matt Bednarz, on his way to his first victory (1-0) of the season.
Four Crusader relievers combined to allow just two hits and strike out eight over the final four innings.
Valpo’s bats came alive in the second, as the Crusaders batted around. Jon Gulbransen (Appleton, Wis./Fox Valley Lutheran H.S.) singled home the first run of the inning and Damon McCormick (Louisville, Ky./Saint Xavier H.S.) followed with the fourth straight single in the inning to score another. Matt Lenski (Milwaukee, Wis./Marquette University H.S.) added another run-scoring double and Zach Rodeghero (New Lenox, Ill./Providence Catholic H.S.) brought home two more with a base hit. Josh Wallace (Bellefontaine, Ohio/Bellefontaine H.S.) capped the inning with a single that scored Rodeghero.
The Crusaders added two more in the fourth as Dan DeBruin (Combined Locks, Wis./Kimberly H.S.) tripled home McCormick and scored on a groundout by Lenski.
After Illinois Tech (5-11) scored four in the top of the fifth, a McCormick sacrifice fly plated Valpo’s final run of the game off of Patrick O’Brien (0-3), who allowed 11 hits in five innings of work for the Scarlet Hawks.
Valpo finished the game with 12 hits on the day, as eight of the nine starters tallied at least one a piece.
“We pitched well today and had a chance to get guys into the game,” head coach Tracy Woodson said. “We had an opportunity to add to our stats and some guys took advantage of it.”
Valparaiso (7-18) will head to Youngstown, Ohio this weekend for a three-game Horizon League set against Youngstown State beginning on Friday night with a 6 p.m. CDT contest.