After having to wait an extra day because of rain to open the 2007 home season, Valparaiso's bats were alive, pounding out 30 hits and scoring 28 runs in a 12-2 and 16-1 sweep of Chicago State at Emory G. Bauer Field on Saturday.
In the opener, the Crusaders scored in each of the first five innings, opening up a 10-1 lead. Brian Rzepka (South Bend, Ind./Penn H.S.) and Jeff Rickert (Hamilton, Ohio/Fairfield H.S.) each drove home three runs in the game, while Michael Arensdorff (Eldridge, Iowa/North Scott H.S.) had three hits. Josh Piazza (Glenview, Ill./Notre Dame H.S.) scored three times, as Valpo pounded out 15 hits. Every Crusader starter had at least one hit in the game.
Nick Mazzone (Carol Stream, Ill./Glenbard North H.S.) went five solid innings, allowing just one run and two hits to earn the victory (1-3). Elliott Gibbs (Munster, Ind./Munster H.S.) and Patrick Paulus (Cottage Grove, Wis./Monona Grove H.S.) worked the final four innings, allowing just two more hits. Sean Murphy (0-3) suffered the loss for the Cougars, allowing seven runs, five earned, and 10 hits in four innings of work.
Game two saw Valpo again jump in front quickly with two in the opening inning. Joe Lazar (Traverse City, Mich./Central H.S.) added a RBI single in the second and Rzepka had a run-scoring hit in the third to make it 4-0.
The Crusaders broke the game open in the fifth, scoring 12 times in the frame. Ryan Manthei (Kenosha, Wis./Tremper H.S.) hit a two-run homer and Dallas Cawiezell (Long Grove, Iowa/North Scott H.S.) hit a grand slam in the inning.
Arensdorff went 3-for-3 in the nightcap to finish the day with six hits, while Rzepka drove in four runs to give him seven on the afternoon to go along with a 4-for-5 hitting day. Cawiezell also had five RBIs in the game while Manthei finished 3-for-4.
Ranko Ivetic (Schererville, Ind./Lake Central H.S.) worked 5.1 innings, allowing just one run and three hits while striking out six to earn his first collegiate victory (1-1). Mike Wieda (0-6) took the loss for Chicago State (0-22).
Valparaiso (4-11) will return to the diamond on Tuesday afternoon when they head to Chicago to face future Horizon League foe UIC. First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m.