Jon Gulbransen (Appleton, Wis./Fox Valley Lutheran H.S.) went seven strong innings on Thursday, allowing just two earned runs, but Valpo’s bats were limited to just eight hits as the Crusaders fell 3-2 to Duquesne at Lake Myrtle Stadium in Auburndale, Fla.
Gulbransen allowed six hits and walked just two while fanning eight, but two runs in the fourth inning proved to be the difference.
“It was a good baseball game to watch,” head coach Tracy Woodson said. “We finally played baseball as opposed to posting football scores. Gulbransen pitched well again for us.”
Valpo jumped on top in the opening inning as Justin Frane (Huntertown, Ind./Carroll H.S.) and Kyle Gaedele (Arlington Heights, Ill./Rolling Meadows H.S.) continued to swing hot bats. Frane singled with one out and Gaedele followed with a run-scoring double.
The Dukes answered in the bottom of the first, scoring an unearned run. A bases loaded groundout by Anthony DeFabio plated Matt Carson, who reached on an error. Duquesne (1-7) took the lead in the fourth on a single by Johnny Elms, and added another run two outs to build a 3-1 advantage.
A sacrifice fly off the bat of Robbie Robinson (Brea, Calif./Olinda H.S.) scored Frane in the sixth to cut the lead in half, and Valpo put the tying run in scoring position with one out in the ninth, but could not tie the game.
“We had a couple of chances to score some runs and just didn’t capitalize,” Woodson concluded.
Andrew Heck went the distance for the win (1-2) for the Dukes, allowing eight hits but not walking a batter while striking out three.
Frane and Ryan O’Gara (Buffalo Grove, Ill./Buffalo Grove H.S.) each had two hits for the Brown and Gold, with O’Gara extending his hitting streak to 12 straight games dating back to last season.
Valparaiso (3-7) will take the day off on Friday before returning to Auburndale on Saturday to face Northeastern. First pitch is slated for 9 a.m. CST.