Chicago, Ill. - Chicago State scored four runs in the eighth inning and defeated Valpo 5-3 in the Mid-Continent Conference opener. The Cougars also won the nightcap of the doubleheader 13-1. Eric Brauer pitched 7 strong innings in the first game. Kevin Kutansky had three hits in the twinbill, including a two-run homer for the Crusaders in the first game.
In the first game, Valpo (7-14, 0-2 Mid-Con) scored one run in the ninth inning and brought the tying run to the plate three times in the frame. The Crusaders plated the run on Kevin Perri's sacrifice fly.
Kutansky's two-run shot over the left field wall gave the Crusaders a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Chicago State (3-28, 2-0) trimmed the lead to 2-1 on John Torres' RBI single in the bottom of the first.
Brauer and Cougar starter Jonathan Duncan dominated innings two through seven as neither team scored during that stretch. CSU took a 3-2 lead in the eighth on Hector Navedo's RBI single and added some insurance when Alexis Galloza delivered a two-run single.
Brauer allowed just one run on eight hits, while fanning three and walking two in 7 innings. Chris Riley (1-1) suffered the loss in relief, allowing four runs on four hits. Duncan (1-2) went 8 innings, allowing two runs on five hits, while striking out two and walking four. Torres pitched the ninth to earn his first save.
Kutansky and Jeff Rickert each had two hits in the game.
In the nightcap, a 10-run fifth inning propelled the Cougars to the win. Torres had two hits and four RBIs and Chris Goya and Raven Jackson each added two RBIs for CSU.
Prior to the CSU fifth, Valpo trailed 3-1 as Brian Rzepka belted an RBI double down the left field line in the fourth.
Chris Freshour limited the Crusaders to three hits in going the distance (7 innings). He allowed one run, while fanning five and yielding one walk.
Matt Gillikin (0-2) took the loss, allowing four runs on four hits in 4 1/3 innings.
Valpo and Chicago State will play a doubleheader in Chicago on Sunday beginning at noon. The games will be played at the University of Illinois at Chicago.