Evanston, Ill. - Jeff Mandsager's two-run double highlighted a five-run third inning and Valpo went on to defeat Northwestern 5-3. Eric Snyder went three-for-four with a RBI, while Sean Peickert and Caleb Kimmel each had two hits and one RBI. Mandsager also had two hits for the Crusaders. Four Valpo pitchers limited the Wildcats to seven hits. Starter Kyle Obenauf earned his second win, allowing one run and four hits, while striking out four and walking one. Jordan Smolar retired all three batters he faced for his first save.
The Crusaders (10-23-1) broke open a scoreless game in the third with some timely hitting. Eddie Hannan reached on an error by the shortstop and advanced to second and third on throwing errors by the catcher and pitcher, respectively. With one out, Kimmel tripled to center field to give Valpo a 1-0 lead. Snyder then plated Kimmel with a single to right field. After Nick Mazzone sacrificed Snyder to second, Peickert delivered a two-out single to center, scoring Snyder. Peickert stole second and Brandon Sadler drew a walk before Mandsager belted his two-run double to increase the lead to 5-0.
Obenauf (2-1) kept Northwestern's offense at bay in the first three frames. The only run yielded by the freshman righthander came on a solo homer by David Gresky in the fourth. He escaped a major jam that inning by striking out Anthony Wycklendt and Matt Brimmer with the bases loaded to end the inning.
Northwestern (14-16) added two runs in the sixth. With one out, Wycklendt lined a two-run, bases loaded single to center. Kyle Cummings, who had entered the game for Valpo at the beginning of the fifth inning, dodged a bases loaded situation by retiring pinch hitter Doug Beatty on a fly out to right and by fanning Mark Ori to end the threat.
The Crusaders escaped one more potential Wildcat rally in the eighth when, with one out, Adam Knobel induced Jon Mikrut to hit into a shortstop-to-second-to-first double play.
Smolar struck out Gresky to begin the ninth and finished the victory by retiring Pat McMahon and Ken Padgett on consecutive fly outs to Snyder in center.
Valpo travels to play Oakland in doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday beginning at noon EDT each day.