Valparaiso wrapped up its weekend series on Sunday afternoon with an 11-5 victory over Austin Peay in Clarksville, Tenn. to take the rubber match of the three-game set.
The Crusaders fell behind 2-0 after three innings before plating three in the fourth. Two straight errors to open the inning led to the three unearned runs, one on a single by John Giusti (Coventry, R.I./Coventry H.S.), and two on a double by Dan DeBruin (Combined Locks, Wis./Kimberly H.S.).
Austin Peay (1-2) answered with three in the bottom of the fourth before the Crusaders put up another three spot in the fifth. Brett Bivens (Battle Creek, Mich./Lakeview H.S.), who drove in six runs on the weekend, had a two-run single to right and Andrew Quinnette (Kokomo, Ind./Kokomo H.S.) added a pinch-hit double to give Valpo a 6-5 lead.
After two straight Valpo batters were hit to lead off the sixth, Zach Rodeghero (New Lenox, Ill./Providence Catholic H.S.) and Jason Brunelli (Greenfield, Wis./Greenfield H.S.) had back-to-back run-scoring doubles. Josh Wallace (Bellefontaine, Ohio/Bellefontaine H.S.) added an infield single to score a third run and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Justin Frane (Fort Wayne, Ind./Carroll H.S.) increased the advantage to 10-4. Quinnette capped the five-run frame with another single for his second run batted in of the game.
Valpo’s bullpen was solid on Sunday, allowing just one run in 5.2 innings of work. Jarad Miller (Fort Wayne, Ind./Carroll H.S.) earned his first collegiate victory for the Brown and Gold while Governor starter David Vicini suffered the loss. Matt Stucky (Fort Wayne, Ind./Concordia Lutheran H.S.) and Austen Siwiec (Aurora, Ill./Marmion Academy) each tossed a scoreless inning as well for Valpo.
“Our bullpen was very good yet again,” head coach Tracy Woodson said afterwards. “We swung the bats well today, and had lots of two-out hits. We did a good job of bunching our runs together a lot this weekend.”
Quinnette came off the bench to go 3-for-3 for the Crusaders while Rodeghero was 4-fo-5 with a walk. For the weekend, Rodeghero was 8-for-11 with six runs scored and five walks. Brunelli and Bivens each had two hits a piece as Valpo pounded out 14 hits in the ball game.
Rafael Hill went 3-for-4 with a run scored and two stolen bases to pace Austin Peay.
Valparaiso (2-1) will return to Clarksville, Tenn. next Friday afternoon for a 2:30 p.m. game against the Governors to begin a three-game weekend tournament.