Jarad Miller (Fort Wayne, Ind./Carroll H.S.) earned saves in both games of Friday’s doubleheader at Emory G. Bauer Field to tie Adam Knobel for Valparaiso University’s career save record with 14 as the Crusaders swept a doubleheader from Milwaukee 4-2 and 7-5.
Miller now has five on the season, leading the Horizon League, as Valpo had to rally with four runs in the eighth inning in the nightcap to garner the victory.
In the opener, Milwaukee jumped on top quickly in the top of the first. Three straight singles, the last by Shaun Wegner, gave the Panthers an early 1-0 lead. Valpo answered in the bottom of the inning and Dan DeBruin (Combined Locks, Wis./Kimberly H.S.) led off with a double down the leftfield line. Kyle Muhlsteff (Yorba Linda, Calif./Esperanza H.S.) followed with a single into left-center to plate DeBruin and tie the game.
Wegner again put Milwaukee in front in the third with a RBI single, again the third straight hit in the inning, scoring Doug Dekoning for the second time.
Valpo took the lead in the fourth. Ryan O’Gara (Buffalo Grove, Ill./Buffalo Grove H.S.) and Kyle Gaedele (Arlington Heights, Ill./Rolling Meadows H.S.) had back-to-back one out singles. Following a walk to Justin Frane (Huntertown, Ind./Carroll H.S.) that loaded the bases, Ryan Shober (Inverness, Ill./Fremd H.S.) ripped a single through the left side that plated both O’Gara and Gaedele, putting the Crusaders on top 3-2.
The Crusaders added to its lead in the bottom of the seventh. With one out DeBruin singled to left and Muhlsteff was hit by a pitch. The Panthers went to the bullpen for left-hander Tim Hoy to face the lefty Matt Lenski (Milwaukee, Wis./Marquette University H.S.). Lenski ripped the first pitch just inside third base for a single to plate DeBruin. Cameron Amsrud then came on to get back-to-back strikeouts to end the inning, but Valpo took a 4-2 lead into the eighth.
Valpo starter Alex Berry (Olney, Ill./East Richland H.S.) settled down 14 of 16 hitters from the third through eighth innings, striking out four during the span. He then gave up a two out single to Josh Groves, his third hit of the game, and walked Wegner, the only base on balls he allowed on the afternoon.
With two on and two out, Miller was summoned from the pen and on the first pitch induced a bounce out by Shawn Wozniak to end the inning and pitched a scoreless ninth to earn the save.
Berry earned the win, allowing just two runs and nine hits in 7.2 innings of work while striking out six to earn the win (1-3). Kyle Schmidt started the game for Milwaukee and suffered the loss (0-3), allowing three runs and nine hits in five innings while fanning six.
“He (Berry) doesn’t over power guys but put the ball where he wanted to,” head coach Tracy Woodson said. “That’s the name of the game.”
Valpo had 11 hits in the opener, including two each by DeBruin, Muhlsteff, Lenski, and Gaedele.
In the nightcap, Milwaukee again struck first, this time in the second inning. Dan Buchholz led off with a double and advance to third on a single by Paul Hoenecke. A sacrifice fly by Johann Andes plated Buchholz with the game’s first run.
The Crusaders answered in the bottom of the frame with two unearned runs. Steven Scoby (Delton, Mich./Kellogg H.S.) reached on an error to lead off the inning and advance to second on a wild pitch. Andrew Quinnette (Kokomo, Ind./Kokomo H.S.) followed with a single that landed on the chalk down the leftfield line to score Scoby and tie the game at one. After Billy Cribbs (Rochester, Mich./Rochester H.S.) was hit by a pitch, Shober laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance both runners. DeBruin then plated Quinnette with a sacrifice fly to centerfield to give Valpo the lead.
Milwaukee tied the game with an unearned run of its own in the fourth. A single by Buchholz led off the inning, and after moving up on an error, scored on a run-scoring infield single by Nick Lingvay.
Valpo bounced back in the bottom of the fourth as Quinnette doubled to the gap in right-center and advanced to third on a single by Cribbs. Quinnette scored from third on a wild pitch to make it 3-2 Crusaders.
The visitors retook the lead in the seventh. Andy Gerhartz was hit to lead off the inning and Dekoning reached on a bunt single, ending the day for Valpo starter Bryce Shafer (Wabash, Ind./Northfield H.S.). Damon McCormick (Louisville, Ky./Saint Xavier H.S.) came on and hit Josh Groves to load the bases. A walk to Wegner tied the game and a double play grounder plated Dekoning to give the Panthers the lead. An error then allowed Groves to score, putting Milwaukee in front 5-3.
Valpo rallied in the eighth with four unearned runs. With two outs, Gaedele reached on a hit batsman. After Milwaukee (5-15, 1-2 Horizon) brought in Hoy, pinch hitter Frane hit a grounder to second base that was misplayed as an error, allowing him to reach, advancing Gaedele to third. Quinette then doubled to right to score both runners and tie the game at five. McCormick then ran for Quinette, erasing Valpo designated hitter for the remainder of the game.
Amsrud then relieve Hoy and delivered a pinch hit walk to Ranko Ivetic (Schererville, Ind./Lake Central H.S.). Bo McClendon (Chesterton, Ind./Merrillville H.S.) then ran for Ivetic. Shober delivered his second go-ahead single of the day, plating McCormick with what would be the winning run. DeBruin followed with another hit, scoring McClendon for insurance as Miller came on the ninth to earn his fifth save of the year and give Valpo the doubleheader sweep.
McCormick, who scored the game-winning run, also earned the win (1-0) in relief, pitching two innings and allowing one unearned run. Hoy suffered the loss (0-1) for the Panthers.
Quinette went 3-for-4 in the nightcap with three runs batted in to pace Valpo’s nine hit attack.
“That’s a big win for us,” concluded Woodson. “We’ve taken two straight series now.”
Valparaiso (9-12, 4-2) will return to action on Tuesday afternoon in DeKalb, Ill. with a 3 p.m. contest against Northern Illinois.
Game Notes: McCormick’s victory was his first as a collegian … Gaedele’s hitting streak has now reached five games … Shober is hitting .400 in league play … this was Valpo’s third doubleheader sweep of the season already this year … the Crusaders have already won two Horizon League series this year after taking two total in 2008.