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Bats Come Alive on Record-Setting Day for Valpo Baseball
Justin Frane went 6-for-8 with a double, three triples and a homer in the sweep. (Dave Schofield)
Justin Frane went 6-for-8 with a double, three triples and a homer in the sweep. (Dave Schofield)

Friday, April 02, 2010

Valparaiso tied a NCAA record with 21 runs in the fifth inning of game one of Friday afternoon’s doubleheader on the way to a sweep of Chicago State 26-5 and 13-3 at Emory G. Bauer Field.

The 21 runs tie for the most ever in Division I in a single inning while setting a new record for most runs ever in a fifth inning of a contest.  The Crusaders set 25 batters to the plate while breaking open a close ball game.

“We swung the bat okay today,” head coach Tracy Woodson said.  “We got some balls up in the air and took advantage of the wind.”

In the nightcap, Justin Frane (Huntertown, Ind./Carroll H.S.) tied a NCAA Division I record with three triples, and nearly had a fourth, settling for a ground-rule double in the sixth inning.

Game one saw Valpo fall behind in the opening inning as Chicago State used five straight hits to take a 3-0 lead.  Crusader starter Damon McCormick (Louisville, Ky./Saint Xavier H.S.) settled down though, working out of a bases loaded, one-out jam after allowing the three runs, and retired 12 of the next 13 hitters he faced.

The Brown and Gold’s offense took over in the bottom of the first as Frane hit a two-run homer to cut the lead to 3-2.  A Kyle Gaedele (Arlington Heights, Ill./Rolling Meadows H.S.) RBI double in the third tied the game and the Crusaders took the lead in the fourth as Andrew Bain (Indianapolis, Ind./Park Tudor H.S.) singled home a pair of runs.

In the record-setting fifth, the Crusaders pounded out 12 hits, took advantage of three Cougar errors, four walks, and three hit batsmen, and ever starter scored in the inning.  Robbie Robinson (Brea, Calif./Olinda H.S.) had one of the big blows, a grand slam while David Klein (Aurora, Ill./Oswego East H.S.) also had three runs batted in in the inning.

Chicago State scored two runs in the sixth, but that would be all the Cougars could manage the rest of the way.

Bain and Robinson each drove home four runs in the win while Billy Cribbs (Rochester, Mich./Rochester H.S.) and Kyle Muhlsteff (Yorba Linda, Calif./Esperanza H.S.) each had three hits as part of a 20-hit attack.

McCormick went the distance for the win (3-0), scattering nine hits, including just four after the first, while striking out four and walking one.  Austin McDowell (0-5) suffered the loss for Chicago State, pitching 4.1 innings and allowing 13 runs, eight of which were earned, and 13 hits.

Game two saw the Crusaders strike again in the opening inning.  Frane’s first triple of the contest scored Muhlsteff and he scored himself on a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0 Valpo.  Chicago State cut the lead in half with a run in the third but the Brown and Gold answered with two more in the bottom of the inning.  Frane’s second run-scoring triple again plated Muhlsteff and Frane scored on a ground out.

A two-run homer by Austin McDowell in the fifth pulled the Cougars within 4-3, but it was all Valpo after that.

A five-run fifth, including a two-run blast by Muhlsteff and a two-run single by Klein made it 9-3 Valpo.  Three more doubles in the sixth added two more runs and the Crusaders tacked on two more in the seventh to close the game out due to the 10-run rule which was invoked.

Frane went 4-for-4 with three RBIs while Muhlsteff also had four hits and drove home three in the night cap.  McCormick added three hits as part of an 18-hit effort for Valpo while Paul Heinkel (Fond du Lac, Wis./Winnebago Lutheran Academy) added three runs batted in.

Jon Gulbransen (Appleton, Wis./Fox Valley Lutheran H.S.) went the distance, allowing just the three runs and 10 hits for the win (2-2), striking out seven and walking three.  James Tucker took the loss (0-5), pitching four innings allowing four runs and five hits.

“Overall we pitched well today the way the wind was blowing,” Woodson added.  “I’m just glad to get two wins.”

Valparaiso (7-16) and Chicago State (1-15) will wrap up the three-game weekend series on Saturday afternoon.  First pitch is set for noon at Emory G. Bauer Field.

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