Milwaukee, Wis. - Wisconsin-Milwaukee scored eight runs in the first three innings and went on to defeat Valpo 12-4 at Miller Park. Jon Rupno, Jeff Rickert and Colin Reynolds each had a hit and an RBI for the Crusaders (9-15).
Valpo grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Brian Rzepka led off with a triple to center field and scored on a passed ball.
The Panthers responded with five runs in the bottom of the first. With the score tied at 1-1, Joe Nowicki, who had two hits and three RBIs, hit an RBI double down the left field line. Nicholas Wichser followed with a two-run single to right center and a sacrifice fly extended the Panther advantage to 5-1.
Nowicki's two-run homer over the right field wall in the second increased the UWM lead to 7-1. The Panthers added an unearned tally in the third.
In the sixth, Valpo pulled within 8-3. After Matt Augustine walked and Josh Piazza singled and stole second, Rupno plated Augustine with a groundout to second base. Rickert's ground ball to third brought Piazza home with the other run.
UWM (12-13) scored four in the seventh and Valpo added one in the ninth on Reynolds' RBI single up the middle for the final margin.
Kyle Obenauf (0-3) started on the mound for Valpo, allowing seven runs in two innings. Rick Cavaiani (1-3) earned the win in relief.
Valpo hosts Western Illinois in a four-game series this weekend. The Crusaders and Leathernecks square off on Saturday in a Mid-Continent Conference doubleheader beginning at noon. The two teams also play a twinbill on Sunday beginning at noon.