Chicago, Ill. - Tom Starck struck out 11 and allowed just three hits over eight innings, and Marc Boggio hurled a complete-game as Valpo swept a Mid-Continent Conference doubleheader from Chicago State by scores of 8-2 and 6-1. The Crusaders scored five runs in the final two innings of the first game to earn the win. Jeff Rickert's two-run single was the key hit in the eighth. Jeff Mandsager belted a three-run homer and Kevin Kutansky added a two-run blast in the nightcap.
By earning the sweep, Valpo (20-30-1, 8-10 Mid-Con) will qualify for the Mid-Con Tournament if it wins at least one game of Saturday's twinbill at Chicago State (8-46, 3-15 Mid-Con). The Mid-Con Tournament will be held May 22-24 at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa.
In the first game, the Crusaders scored early with three runs in the first inning. Boggio, Valpo's leading hitter (.358), had a RBI single, Kyle Young drew a bases-loaded walk and Kutansky delivered a RBI single.
Starck, who improved his record to 4-1 and lowered his ERA to 2.98, allowed just one hit through the first six innings. The Cougars cut their deficit to 3-2 on Andy Paszko's two-run double in the seventh.
However, Valpo scored three insurance runs in the eighth on Eric Snyder's RBI double and Rickert's two-run single. After Starck held CSU scoreless in the bottom of the eighth, the Crusaders added two runs in the ninth on a balk and wild pitch.
Houston Mad pitched a complete-game for CSU, allowing three earned runs on nine hits, while fanning four and walking eight.
In the nightcap, Boggio was impressive, yielding only a sixth-inning run in improving his record to 5-5. The senior righthander struck out six and walked three in seven innings.
The game was scoreless until Valpo plated three in the fourth. Mandsager's fourth homer followed singles by Boggio and Sadler.
The Crusaders increased their lead to 6-0 with a three-run sixth. Young produced one run with a sacrifice fly and Kutansky's second homer of the season - a two-run shot - accounted for the other runs.
Chicago State scored its only run of the contest in the sixth on a Derrick Bass RBI single. Jason Squier went the distance for the Cougars, allowing all six runs and eight hits, while striking out four and walking two.
Valpo plays a doubleheader at Chicago State on Saturday beginning at 1 p.m.