DeKalb, Ill. - Jon Rupno's three-run home run helped Valpo trim an early deficit, but Northern Illinois went on to defeat the Crusaders 12-8. Rupno finished with two hits and four RBIs, while Josh Piazza added two hits and two RBIs.
A four-run fourth inning helped Valpo (4-8) cut the Huskies' lead to 8-4. Mike Arensdorff, Kevin Kutansky and Colin Reynolds had consecutive singles to begin the frame. After Matt Augustine delivered a sacrifice fly, Rupno belted his first career home run - a three-run shot - over the right field wall.
Northern Illinois (4-12) added a run in the fifth before the Crusaders plated three more in the sixth to pull within 9-7. Rupno's RBI single and Piazza's two-run double highlighted the inning.
The Huskies, who finished with 10 hits, pushed one run across in the sixth and added two more in the eighth to extend their advantage to 12-7.
Greg Larsen's three-run homer keyed a four-run second for NIU, which had scored two in the first. NIU also added two in the third to take an 8-0 lead.
Seven errors hurt the Crusaders as only four of NIU's runs were earned. Jordan Smolar (0-1) took the loss, allowing three earned runs in 1 2/3 innings. Dallas Cawiezell hurled 3 1/3 innings in relief, yielding one earned run on three hits.
Nick Hall (1-1) earned the victory, allowing six earned runs on eight hits over 6 innings.
Valpo is scheduled to host South Dakota State on Friday in a doubleheader beginning at noon. Wednesday's scheduled game at Purdue was cancelled due to unsuitable field conditions.