Back-to-back errors in the third inning by Valparaiso led to five unearned for Illinois-Chicago on Wednesday afternoon as the Flames defeated the Crusaders 7-1 at Emory G. Bauer Field.
The Flames jumped in front from the opening inning with three straight hits, the third a two-run single by Mark Hallberg.
Valpo answered in the bottom of the frame as Zach Rodeghero (New Lenox, Ill./Providence Catholic H.S.) registered an infield single to plate Kevin Kutansky (Schererville, Ind./Munster H.S.) as Valpo scored with two outs. Rodeghero finished the game 3-for-4 with a double for the Crusaders.
UIC (9-11) capitalized on Valpo miscues to break the game open in the third. With two outs and a runner on second, back-to-back errors scored the first two runs in the inning. Bart Babineaux then added a three-run homer to left-center to increase the lead to 7-1.
Both bullpens went to work the rest of the way, not allowing a run after the third. Valpo's Matt Gillikin (Chesterton, Ind./Chesterton H.S.) allowed just one hit in four innings while Jay Clites (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer H.S.) and Tony McCombs (Princeton, Ill./Princeton H.S.) each threw an inning without allowing a base hit.
Six Illinois-Chicago pitchers combined on a six-hitter in the win, allowing just the first inning run. Starter Ryan Martin went the first two innings to earn the win while Valpo's Mike Stankiewicz (Des Plaines, Ill./Maine West H.S.) suffered the loss, working the first three innings for the Brown and Gold.
Valparaiso (2-14) has now dropped nine in a row and will look to break the losing skid on Saturday afternoon as the Crusaders host Illinois Tech. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. at Emory G. Bauer field, with the game being carried live on www.sportsjuice.com beginning at 12:50 p.m.