Clarksville, Tenn. - Kevin Perri had two hits and an RBI, but Valpo lost its season opener to Akron 5-4 in the Austin Peay Invitational. Colin Reynolds had an RBI single for the Crusaders.
Valpo (0-1) put the potential tying run on second base with one out in the ninth, but Akron closer Darek Stanfield retired the last two Crusader batters on fly balls to end the game.
Akron (1-3) scored three runs in the first inning on seven hits. The Crusaders responded with a run in the bottom of the first when Perri singled and advanced to third on Mike Arensdorff's single. Kevin Kutansky grounded into a double play to plate Perri.
Valpo tied the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the second on Perri's RBI double and a throwing error by the Zips' shortstop.
Akron's Bob Dobovec, who went 2-for-4, drove in single runs in the fifth and seventh to give the Zips a 5-3 advantage. Reynolds delivered his RBI single with two outs in the eighth to pull Valpo within 5-4. Stanfield then entered the contest and retired Jeff Rickert on a groundout to end the threat.
John Giusti led off the ninth for Valpo with an infield single and advanced to second on Brian Rzepka's sacrifice bunt. Stanfield then retired Jon Rupno and Matt Augustine on fly balls to earn his first save.
Harvey Yergin (0-1) suffered the loss, yielding four earned runs on 11 hits in 6 innings. The Akron native struck out three and did not issue a walk. Chris Riley, Jordan Smolar and Adam Knobel pitched 1 inning each of scoreless ball for the Crusaders.
Akron's Ross Liersemann (1-1) allowed two runs on six hits, while fanning seven and walking two in 7 innings.
Valpo finished with eight hits and did not commit an error, while Akron produced 13 hits and committed two fielding miscues.
The Crusaders continue the round-robin Austin Peay Invitational on Saturday at 2 p.m. against Austin Peay.