Valparaiso was limited to just three hits and a seven-run second inning by Notre Dame proved to be more than enough as the Fighting Irish defeated the Crusaders 12-0 on Wednesday afternoon in Notre Dame, Ind.
Notre Dame jumped on the scoreboard courtesy of an unearned run in the opening inning. A two-out single to right-center by Matt Bransfield brought home Jeremy Barnes, who had reached on a fielder's choice and stole second.
The Fighting Irish broke the game open in the second. A suicide squeeze bunt by Greg Lopez plated the first run in the inning. Three straight hits and a sacrifice fly added four more runs as Notre Dame sent 11 batters to the plate in the frame. A throwing error and another single completed the seven run inning for the hosts which chased Valpo starter Dallas Cawiezell (Long Grove, Iowa/North Scott H.S.) after the second.
Derek Smith (Kokomo, Ind./Kokomo H.S.) came out of the bullpen and did a solid job on the mound for the Brown and Gold, holding the Fighting Irish at bay. He held Notre Dame scoreless for his first three innings of work, allowing just an unearned run in the sixth. Smith struck out two and allowed just three hits in his four innings on the hill.
Notre Dame added to the lead with three in the eighth, courtesy of a bases loaded walk and two bases loaded hit batsmen.
David Gruener earned the win for Notre Dame (12-8) pitching the first three innings as the Fighting Irish sent five hurlers to the hill.
The Crusaders' Ryan Manthei (Kenosha, Wis./Tremper H.S.) went 0-for-3 on the day, seeing his eight-game hitting streak come to an end.
Valparaiso (2-13) will look to snap its eight-game losing streak on Wednesday afternoon as the Crusaders host Illinois-Chicago. First pitch is set for 2 p.m. at Emory G. Bauer Field, with the game carried live at www.sportsjuice.com.