Valparaiso's Nick Mazzone (Carol Stream, Ill./Glenbard North H.S.) outdueled North Dakota State's Jake Laber in the opener but the Bison's Ryan Williams got the better of Harvey Yergin (Akron Ohio/Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy) in game two as the Crusaders and North Dakota State split a doubleheader by identical scores of 2-1 on Saturday at Emory G. Bauer Field.
Mazzone went 6.1 innings allowing just seven hits and one run while fanning six to improve to 5-2 on the season with the win in game one.
Valpo used back-to-back pitches to provide the lone offense for the game as Colin Reynolds (Crookston, Minn./Central H.S.) doubled off the left-field wall with two outs in the fourth and Ryan Manthei (Kenosha, Wis./Tremper H.S.) followed with his seventh homer of the year to left for two of the Brown and Gold's four hits in the game.
North Dakota State got a lead-off double from Charles Magedanz in the sixth and used an RBI ground out by Luke Otto to produce the Bison's only run of the game.
Dallas Cawiezell (Long Grove, Iowa/North Scott H.S.) came on to get the game's final two outs in the seventh for his third save of the season for the Crusaders. Laber (1-8) allowed just four hits and one walk while striking out eight in the loss for North Dakota State.
In the nightcap, both starters blanked the opposition through six innings before North Dakota State got back-to-back run-scoring doubles from Greg Plecki and Matt Watson with one out in the top of the seventh.
Valpo tried to rally in the bottom of the ninth, as pinch-hitter Zach Rodeghero (New Lenox, Ill./Providence Catholic H.S.) looped a single into left-center to score pinch-runner Alex Halstead (Brookfield, Wis./Milwaukee Lutheran H.S.) with two outs in the seventh. The Crusaders had runners at second in third before Williams got the game's final out for a complete game victory.
Williams (1-5) scattered just five hits and walked one while striking out six in the win. Yergin (1-7) went 6.2 innings allowing two runs and six hits while whiffing six in the loss.
Valparaiso (12-24) and North Dakota State (6-32) will look to conclude the four-game weekend series on Sunday afternoon with a doubleheader beginning at noon. Both games can be heard live on www.sportsjuice.com.