After three straight days of postponements due to the weather, Valparaiso and West Virginia finally played a doubleheader on Monday afternoon in Morgantown, W. Va. with the Mountaineers taking both ends of the twinbill by the scores of 7-2 and 11-8.
In game one, West Virginia jumped on top with unearned runs in both the first and second inning. The Crusaders got one run back as Josh Wallace (Bellefontaine, Ohio/Bellefontaine H.S.) homered to lead off the fourth inning, his second round-tripper of the year.
The Mountaineers quickly answered in the bottom of the fourth, scoring three times, all with two outs. West Virginia added solo runs on RBI singles in the fifth and sixth for its final runs in the seven-inning contest.
Valpo scored its other run in the sixth as Wallace led off the inning with a double. After moving to third on a ground out, he scored on a wild pitch.
Wallace and Dan DeBruin (Combined Locks, Ky./Kimberly H.S.) were the lone Crusaders with two hits a piece, as Valpo tallied just five in the game.
Josh Whitlock (3-0) went the distance for the win for the Mountaineers on the mound, striking out five. Elliott Gibbs (Munster, Ind./Munster H.S.) suffered the loss (0-2), working 3.2 innings striking out three and allowing five runs, three earned, and seven hits.
In the nightcap, Valpo rallied from an 11-3 deficit after seven innings, only to leave the bases loaded with the tying runs in the ninth inning.
A Jedd Gyorko homer in the bottom of the first started the scoring for West Virginia (8-3), part of his 3-for-5 game with three runs batted in. The Mountaineers added two more runs in the third before Valpo got on the scoreboard. A Justin Frane (Fort Wayne, Ind./Carroll H.S.) sacrifice fly and an RBI single by Joe Lazar (Traverse City, Mich./Central H.S.) cut the Crusader deficit to 3-2.
The Mountaineers added three more runs in the bottom of the fourth and five in the seventh to break the game open. Valpo scored one in the top of the seventh on a bunt single by DeBruin scoring Lazar and added another in the eighth on Wallace’s second homer of the day.
Trailing 11-4 entering the ninth, the Crusaders tried for the comeback. Three straight singles loaded the bases and Zach Rodeghero (New Lenox, Ill./Providence Catholic H.S.), who had his 13-game hitting streak snapped in the opener, singled home two. Wallace added his second hit of the game, and fourth of the day, to reload the bases, and a walk to Klein forced home one run. Mark Schoeck (Bellefontaine, Ohio/Bellfontaine H.S.) singled home the fourth run with his third hit of the game, and left the bases loaded with the tying runs on. Two strikeouts ended the Crusader threat though.
DeBruin also had three hits in game two for the Crusaders, and five on the afternoon, as Valpo tallied 13 in the night cap.
Stephen Morrison (2-0) earned the win for West Virginia, working 7.1 innings while allowing four runs, two of which were earned. Jon Gulbransen (Appleton, Wis./Fox Valley Lutheran H.S.) suffered the loss (0-2) for the Crusaders, lasting 2.2 innings.
“Like I’ve said before, it’s the same stuff again,” head coach Tracy Woodson said afterwards. “We have got to put things together. Five or six runs were scored today because of walks and hit batters. We win a game without that.”
Valparaiso (2-9) will face Marshall on Tuesday and Wednesday. Both games are now scheduled as doubleheaders and the games have been moved to Lawrence County High School in Louisa, Ky. due to field conditions in Huntington, W. Va. First pitch on Tuesday is set for 11:30 a.m. CDT with Wednesday’s games beginning at 9 a.m. CDT.