Valparaiso wrapped up its three-game swing through North Carolina on Thursday afternoon dropping an 11-4 decision to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in Greensboro, N.C.
The Spartans jumped out to an early 6-0 lead and never looked back. Ricky Orton doubled home two runs as part of a three-run opening inning and Greg Feltes hit a two-run homer in the second. A Valpo error led to a run for UNC Greensboro in the third before the Crusaders found the scoreboard.
Damon McCormick (Louisville, Ky./Saint Xavier H.S.) singled in the fourth and scored on a two-run double by Zach Rodeghero (New Lenox, Ill./Providence Catholic H.S.). For Rodeghero, it marked the 13th straight game with at least one hit. The fifth-year senior then scored Valpo’s second run on a wild pitch.
The Crusaders loaded the bases in the fifth but came up empty and the Spartans added two more runs in the bottom of the inning on back-to-back RBI singles.
A bases loaded walk to Ryan O’Gara (Buffalo Grove, Ill./Buffalo Grove H.S.) plated David Klein (Aurora, Ill./Oswego East H.S.) and a RBI ground out by Joe Lazar (Traverse City, Mich./Central H.S.) plated Brett Bivens to cut the UNC Greensboro lead to 8-4.
“We got behind early today and battled back to within four,” head coach Tracy Woodson said. “We need to put pitching and hitting together on the same day.
The Spartans added three insurance runs in the eighth though, and kept the Crusaders off of the scoreboard in the ninth inning.
Jason Brunelli (Greenfield, Wis./Greenfield H.S.) had two hits on the afternoon for Valpo, as the Crusaders tallied a 10-hit attack on the day. Corey Overholtzer, Drew Gehringer and Orton each had three hits a piece for UNC Greensboro (6-2).
Greg Smith (1-0) earned the win for the Spartans while Alex Berry (Olney, Ill./East Richland H.S.) suffered the loss (0-3) for the Crusaders.
Valparaiso (2-7) will head to Morgantown, W.Va. on Friday afternoon to begin a four-game weekend series with West Virginia. First pitch against the Mountaineers is set for 2 p.m. CST.