Valparaiso was limited to just three hits on the afternoon, but they all came in the same inning and combined with a solid pitching effort as the Crusaders won their fifth game in their last six contests defeating Bradley 3-2 in Peoria, Ill.
With the game scoreless in the fourth, Colin Reynolds (Crookston, Minn./Central H.S.) walked with one out and Josh Piazza (Niles, Ill./Notre Dame H.S.) followed with a single, Valpo's first hit of the day. After a wild pitch moved the runners up 90 feet, Joe Lazar (Traverse City, Mich./Central H.S.) singled to right to bring home Reynolds for his first RBI of the year. A passed ball then scored Piazza and Matthew Augustine (Muskego, Wis./Muskego H.S.) followed with a double down the right field line to plate Lazar and give the Brown and Gold a 3-0 lead.
Derek Smith (Kokomo, Ind./Kokomo H.S.) was solid on the mound all afternoon, scattering just five hits and walking one in 5.2 innings while not allowing a run to earn his first collegiate victory (1-1).
Bradley (19-19) scored a pair of runs in the seventh on a fielder's choice and a throwing error by the Crusaders, but Dallas Cawiezell (Long Grove, Iowa/North Scott H.S.) came on to pitch the final two innings to earn his second save of the season. Collin Brennan (5-1) suffered his first loss of the season for the Braves, allowing all three runs and all three hits in four innings of work.
Valparaiso (11-22) will return to the diamond on Wednesday afternoon in West Lafayette, Ind. as the Crusaders face Purdue beginning at 3 p.m. CDT. The game will be aired live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics.