Sunday turned out to be a long day of baseball at Emory G. Bauer Field but in the end Valparaiso finished up three victories over Chicago State to complete a four-game weekend sweep of the Cougars and remain in the hunt for a berth in the Mid-Continent Conference Tournament as head coach Paul Twenge won his 500th game as a collegiate coach. Valpo won the completion of the suspended game 7-0, downed the Cougars 4-3 in 14 innings in game one of today's doubleheader and won the nightcap 4-0.
When play resumed in the fourth inning of Saturday's suspended game, Valpo led 2-0. The Crusaders wasted little time with the bats scoring four times, all unearned, in the fourth while batting around. Brian Rzepka (South Bend, Ind./Penn H.S.) had a RBI fielder's choice, John Giusti (Coventry, R.I./Coventry H.S.) drove in a run with a single, and Michael Arensdorff (Park View, Iowa/North Scott H.S.) brought home two more with a base hit. Rzepka added a sacrifice fly in the fifth to complete the scoring.
Derek Smith (Kokomo, Ind./Kokomo H.S.) went the final three innings for the win (2-2) in relief of Nick Mazzone (Carol Stream, Ill./Glenbard North H.S.) as the duo combined on Valpo's first shutout of the season. Rzepka finished the game with three runs batted in while Colin Reynolds (Crookston, Minn./Central H.S.) scored three times.
Luis Reynoso (0-2) took the loss for the Cougars, going the distance allowing just two earned runs.
Game two appeared to be a slugfest after the opening inning but quickly changed. Chicago State scored a pair of unearned runs in the first as Raven Jackson was safe on a throwing error that allowed to Cougars to score. Valpo answered with three straight hits to start the second game, including a RBI single by Kevin Kutansky (Schererville, Ind./Munster H.S.). Kevin Perri (South Bend, Ind./Adams H.S.) scored on a passed ball and Matthew Augustine (Muskego, Wis./Muskego H.S.) singled home a run to give Valpo a 3-2 lead.
Valpo starter Kyle Obenauf (Salem, Wis./Westosha Central H.S.) then settled down, allowing just a run in the fifth on a RBI single to Luke Grow that tied the game.
Neither team would plate another run in regulation, although the Cougars had a chance in the ninth. With one out and runners on the corners, Chris Freshour popped a bunt up to Dallas Cawiezell (Long Grove, Iowa/North Scott H.S.). He caught it and fired to third, but the throw went into left field. Kutansky fired the ball back in to Ryan Manthei (Kenosha, Wis./Tremper H.S.) to complete the double play at third to pick the runner off base.
Chicago State starter Colin Marshall worked 10.1 innings, allowing 11 hits and just the three runs before giving way to his bullpen. The game moved along to the 14th before Valpo broke through with the winning run.
Manthei started off the 14th with a one-out double to left-center and Joe Lazar (Traverse City, Mich./Central H.S.) singled to right-center to give Valpo the one-run victory.
Cawiezell (2-5) earned the win in relief, working 5.2 innings allowing just two hits while Robert Vargas (1-4) suffered the loss for the Cougars. Augustine finished the game with three hits for Valpo while Luke Grow went 3-for-7 for Chicago State.
In the nightcap, Matt Gillikin (Chesterton, Ind./Chesterton H.S.) tossed a three-hit shutout helping Twenge secure his 500th victory in his 25th season of collegiate coaching. The senior walked just one and struck on five to improve to 1-3.
Valpo scored first in the second as Reynolds singled, took second on a wild pitch, advanced to third the same way and scored with the throw from the catcher sailed into left field. Manthei delivered a run-scoring double in the fourth, the same inning Rzepka plated Reynolds on a successful suicide squeeze bunt. Kutansky delivered a run-scoring double in the fifth for the final insurance run of the game.
Shawn Neubauer (2-7) started and worked five innings for Chicago State (4-41, 0-16 Mid-Con), allowing five hits and four runs, just one of which was earned.
Valparaiso (17-29, 9-10) has moved into fifth place in the Mid-Con standings and can qualify for the conference tournament with three victories at Western Illinois next weekend. Valpo will return to the diamond on Tuesday to host Northern Illinois, with first pitch set for 3 p.m. at Emory G. Bauer Field. The game will be carried live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso).