Michael Arensdorff (Park View, Iowa/North Scott H.S.) singled home the winning run in the bottom of the ninth to help Valparaiso snap its nine-game losing streak with a 4-3 victory over Illinois Tech on a cool, crisp Saturday afternoon at Emory G. Bauer Field.
With Valpo leading 3-2 entering the ninth, the Scarlet Hawks tied the game on a two-out bunt single by Dennis Payonk that plated pinch runner Tom Glennon.
The Crusaders answered quickly in their half of the ninth though to earn their first victory of the season at home. Kevin Perri (South Bend, Ind./Adams H.S.), who went 3-for-4 on the day, led off with a single up the middle. Brian Rzepka (South Bend, Ind./Penn H.S.) sacrificed him over to second setting the stage for Arensdorff. The redshirt junior singled through the right side and Perri just beat the through to the plate by right fielder Ross Hiner.
Illinois Tech (6-11) jumped on the scoreboard first in the top half of the first inning on a RBI single by off the bat of Greg Albright. Valpo answered in the bottom of the inning on a sacrifice fly to right by Kevin Kutansky (Schererville, Ind./Munster H.S.) that brought Perri home.
The Scarlet Hawks retook the lead in the third on a single by Michael Erickson that scored Evan Kruger and they kept the lead into the sixth. Valpo had a scoring threat in the fourth but left the bases loaded.
In the sixth, Perri's bases loaded sacrifice fly to center scored pinch runner Alex Halstead (Brookfield, Wis./Milwaukee Lutheran H.S.) with the tying run. With two outs, Brian Rzepka (South Bend, Ind./Penn H.S.) hit a ground ball to second that was bobbled allowing him to reach and score John Guisti (Coventry, R.I./Coventry H.S.). Both teams then went quietly in the seventh and the eighth, setting the stage for the final inning dramatics.
Patrick Paulus (Cottage Grove, Wis./Monona Grove H.S.) earned his first win of the season for the Crusaders, coming on to start the top of the ninth inning. Harvey Yergin (Akron, Ohio/Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy) started and worked the first four innings before John Snelten (Ingleside, Ill./Antioch H.S.) came on and worked the next four innings, allowing just one hit during his time on the mound.
Brian Schiller went the distance for Illinois Tech and suffered the loss, allowing nine hits.
Guisti and Arensdorff each had two hits for the Crusaders in addition to Perri's three-hit day while Dustin Reznicek and Kruger each had two hits for the Scarlet Hawks.
Valparaiso (3-14) will conclude its three-game homestand on Sunday afternoon as the Crusaders host Marian (Ind.). First pitch at Emory G. Bauer Field is set for 1 p.m. with the game being carried live on www.sportsjuice.com beginning at 12:50 p.m.