Chicago, Ill. - Harvey Yergin pitched eight strong innings for Valpo, but UIC scored three early runs and held on to defeat the Crusaders 3-2. Matt Augustine delivered a two-run single and Kevin Kutansky had two hits for Valpo (7-9).
UIC (11-9-1) took a 1-0 lead in the first on a sacrifice fly by Mark Hallberg. The Flames extended their lead to 3-0 in the third when Jeff Gremley led off with a solo homer over the left field wall. With one out, Hallberg reached on a throwing error and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Bryan Russo followed with a single that advanced Hallberg, who scored on an error in right field.
Valpo began a two-run rally in the fifth inning after the first two batters were retired. Mike Arensdorff and Kutansky had consecutive singles and Colin Reynolds loaded the bases with a walk. Augustine followed with a single to right, plating Arensdorff and Kutansky.
Yergin (0-4) became stronger as the game grew older, holding UIC scoreless on three hits over his last five innings. The sophomore righthander allowed two earned runs overall on seven hits. He struck out three and walked one.
In the ninth, the Crusaders put the tying run in scoring position with two outs. Jeff Rickert was hit by a pitch and advanced to second on a wild pitch. UIC's Jason Foster relieved starter Ryan Zink and retired Kevin Perri on a fly out to center field to record his second save.
Zink was solid, hurling 8 2/3 inings. He scattered six hits and allowed two runs, while fanning seven and walking two.
Jon Rupno and Brian Rzepka each had doubles for Valpo. Gremley went 3-for-4 (home run, double) and Mike Bruszer finished 2-for-4 for UIC.
Valpo will host UIC on Saturday at noon.