Valparaiso committed six fielding errors that led to six unearned runs on Tuesday afternoon as the Crusaders dropped a 12-8 game to Central Michigan in Bradenton, Fla.
The Chippewas scored in the first eight innings against Valpo, taking a 12-3 lead into the ninth before the Crusaders scored five times to make the game close.
After Central Michigan (4-6) scored twice in the top of the first, the Crusaders tied the game in the bottom of the inning. Kevin Perri (South Bend, Ind./Adams H.S.) scored on a passed ball and Ryan Manthei (Kenosha, Wis./Tremper H.S.) singled home Brian Rzepka (South Bend, Ind./Penn H.S.).
The Chippewas added single runs in the second, third, fifth, and sixth while scoring twice in the fourth to build a 9-2 lead. Kevin Kutansky (Schererville, Ind./Munster H.S.) hit a solo homer in the bottom of the six before Central Michigan added another in the seventh and three more in the eighth.
Valpo struck for five in the ninth but it was a little too late. Rzepka plated two with a single Perri scored on a throwing error, Michael Arensdorff (Park View, Iowa/North Scott H.S.) brought home another with a ground out, and Colin Reynolds (Crookston, Minn./Central H.S.) brought home another run with a double.
Valpo finished the game with ten hits, including two from Rzepka, Kutansky, and Manthei. Central Michigan banged out 15 hits. Bryan Mitzel went 3-for-5 with three runs batted in, including two homers, while Jeff Helps also had three hits in three trips to the plate. Cody Allen drove in three runs for the Chippewas.
Matt Gillikin (Chesterton, Ind./Chesterton H.S.) started and took the loss for Valpo (1-3) going three innings allowing four runs, three earned, and five hits. Ben Rodewald earned the win for Central Michigan, going six innings allowing three runs and five hits.
Valparaiso will return to the diamond in Bradenton on Tuesday afternoon for a 1:30 p.m. CST game against IPFW.