Rochester, Mich. - Harvey Yergin hurled a complete-game victory and Valpo pounded out 26 hits on the day as the Crusaders swept a Mid-Continent Conference doubleheader from Oakland by scores of 8-2 and 7-4. Mike Arensdorff had five hits, including two home runs, and finished with four RBIs in the twinbill.
Jon Rupno had four hits and three RBIs, while Matt Augustine also totaled four hits. Seven Crusaders had two hits in the first game and four notched multi-hit performances in the nightcap.
In the opener, Valpo's 16-hit attack and Yergin's dominant pitching put the Crusaders in firm control of the game. A sophomore, Yergin (3-6) retired 20 straight batters from the third inning until there were two outs in the ninth. He limited the Golden Grizzlies to two ninth-inning runs, allowing five hits overall. The righthander struck out seven and did not issue a walk.
Valpo (14-25, 6-10 Mid-Con) took a 2-0 lead in the third inning when Kevin Perri singled and Arensdorff followed with a two-run homer over the right center field wall. The Crusaders extended their lead to 4-0 in the sixth when Perri singled and came home on Kevin Kutansky's two-run homer to left center.
The lead grew to 8-0 with a single run in the eighth and a trifecta in the ninth. Jeff Rickert delivered an RBI single in the eighth, scoring Josh Piazza, who hit a one-out double. Solid situational hitting produced the trio of runs in the ninth. Kutansky's sacrifice fly plated Brian Rzepka, who led off with a double. Piazza added another sacrifice fly as Perri scored his third run of the game. Rupno's RBI bunt single brought Arensdorff home with the eighth run.
Oakland (10-29, 7-11) spoiled Yergin's shutout attempt with two outs in the ninth. Nate Recknagel doubled and Ty Herriott followed with a two-run homer to center field.
In addition to Arensdorff, Rupno and Augustine, Rzepka, Perri, Piazza and Rickert each had two hits in the opener.
Kevin Hale (3-3) suffered the loss, pitching 6 1/3 solid innings. He allowed four runs on 10 hits, while fanning three and walking none.
In the nightcap, a four-run third inning broke a 1-1 tie and proved to be the difference. After Rupno's RBI single tied the game in the second, Valpo took advantage of three Golden Grizzllies' errors in the third. John Giusti singled, advanced to second on a throwing error and scored on another throwing error that allowed Rzepka to reach second. After a balk and a walk, Perri stole second base. Rzepka scored when the catcher's throw went into center field. Arensdorff belted an RBI double to left field and, with one out, scored on Piazza's RBI groundout.
Oakland trimmed its deficit to 5-3 with single runs in the third and fourth. Herriott's sacrifice fly and Ryan Heath's solo homer accounted for the offense.
Arensdorff's second homer of the day, his fourth on the season, and Rupno's RBI single in the fifth increased the lead to 7-3. Oakland scored one in the sixth on Bryan Marulli's RBI double for the final margin.
Arensdorff had three hits in the second game, while Augustine, Rupno and Giusti each had two.
John Snelten (2-0) earned the win in relief, allowing one run in 2 innings. He struck out three and did not walk a batter. Bryan Bishop took the loss, allowing four earned runs and nine hits in 4 2/3 innings.
With tomorrow's action and two additional weekends of Mid-Con games remaining, Valpo (6-10) is challenging Centenary (6-8) and Oakland (7-11) for the fourth and final spot in the Mid-Con Tournament to be held May 26-28 at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla. Centenary, which was swept in a doubleheader Saturday at first-place ORU, plays another twinbill Sunday against the Golden Eagles (13-1).
Valpo and Oakland conclude their four-game series with a doubleheader on Sunday beginning at 11 a.m. CT (noon ET).