Valparaiso hit six homeruns on a windy afternoon in Muncie, Ind. but Ball State scored five or more runs in five different innings as the Cardinals defeated the Crusaders 31-19 on Tuesday afternoon.
Ball State jumped in front in the second inning scoring eight times before the Crusaders answered with nine in the top half of the third. Jon Rupno (Green Bay, Wis./Pulaski H.S.), Michael Arensdorff (Park View, Iowa/North Scott H.S.), and Kevin Kutansky (Schererville, Ind./Munster H.S.) all homered in the frame.
The Cardinals scored seven times in the fourth and added six more in the sixth taking a 21-12 lead. Valpo tacked on its three runs in the sixth on homers by Brian Rzepka (South Bend, Ind./Penn H.S.) and Ryan Manthei (Kenosha, Wis./Tremper H.S.). Kutansky added another blast in the ninth, but five-run seventh and eighth innings gave Ball State all the offense it would need.
Eight of Valpo's nine starters drove in runs and all nine hitters had at least one hit as the Crusaders banged out 22 on the afternoon. Ball State tallied 29 hits and took advantage of nine walks for Valpo hurlers.
John Giusti (Coventry, R.I./Coventry H.S.) had four hits for Valpo while Rupno, Kutansky, and Colin Reynolds (Crookston, Minn./Central H.S.) had three hits each. Eric Earnhart went 5-for-7 with four RBIs for Ball State (15-11) while Brad Miller went 4-for-5 with three homers and eight runs batted in.
Jay Clites (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer H.S.) took the loss for the Brown and Gold in relief while Adam Quinn picked up the victory for the Cardinals.
Valparaiso (4-15) will open Mid-Continent Conference action on Friday afternoon in Cedar City, Utah as the Crusaders begin a four-game series against Southern Utah. First pitch of Friday's twinbill against the Thunderbirds is set for 1 p.m. CDT.