A five-run fifth inning in game two of Saturday's doubleheader helped lift Valparaiso to a split of the twinbill with Southern Utah as the Crusaders won game two 8-4 in Cedar City, Utah. The Thunderbirds topped Valpo 8-3 in the opener.
Colin Reynolds had an RBI single in the first and Kevin Perri drove in a run with a bunt single in the second to give the Crusaders a 2-0 lead after two in the nightcap. After Southern Utah (17-11, 3-1 Mid-Con) tied the game in the fourth on a fielder's choice and a double, Valpo's bats came alive to help the Crusaders earn the win. Michael Arensdorff had a sacrifice fly and Tyler Lowell doubled home two runs for the Brown and Gold. Tyler Lowell, Brian Rzepka, and Jon Rupno all followed with RBI singles as the Crusaders built an 8-2 lead.
Southern Utah added two in the sixth but it would not be enough as the Crusaders posted their first Mid-Continent Conference victory of the season. Nick Mazzone went six innings to get the win while Jake Noyes took the loss in relief for Southern Utah. Perri went 3-for-4 as Valpo banged out 11 hits in game two.
Valpo jumped in front 1-0 in game one on a Ryan Manthei single only to see the Thunderbirds tie the game in the bottom of the second. A four-run fourth, capped off by a two-run single by Justin Sotelo, gave Southern Utah a lead they would not relinquish. The Crusaders added two runs in the fifth, aided by a pair of SUU errors, but it would not be enough.
Matt Wilson recorded the win for Southern Utah while Matt Gillikin suffered the loss. Colin Reynolds had the only multi-hit game for the Crusaders in the opener with two hits in three at bats.
Valparaiso (5-18, 1-3) will return to the diamond on Wednesday afternoon as the Crusaders host Indiana Tech at Emory G. Bauer Field. First pitch is set for 3 p.m.