Valparaiso’s offense pounded out 15 hits and Damon McCormick (Louisville, Ky./Saint Xavier H.S.) pitched eight solid innings as the Crusaders defeated Gardner-Webb 7-5 on Friday afternoon in the opening game of a three-game series at Sims Legion Park in Gastonia, N.C.
McCormick went eight innings, allowing five runs and 12 hits, but did not hit a batter while striking out three. He earned his second win (2-0) of the year while Jarad Miller (Fort Wayne, Ind./Carroll H.S.) got the final three outs for his second save of the season.
‘McCormick was good yet again today,” head coach Tracy Woodson said. “He threw strikes, didn’t walk anyone, and went after hitters,”
Paul Heinkel (Fond du Lac, Wis./Winnebago Lutheran Academy) and Ryan O’Gara (Buffalo Grove, Ill./Buffalo Grove H.S.) each had three hits on the afternoon, with O’Gara driving home a pair of runs.
“Heinkel had another solid game for us,” Woodson said. “He has been a nice surprise and gives us options defensively. He has definitely worked hard to be able to produce for us.”
Valpo struck first with a pair of runs in the second inning as Billy Cribbs (Rochester, Mich./Rochester H.S.) and Steven Scoby (Delton, Mich./Delton Kellogg H.S.) each had RBI singles. The Crusaders added to the lead in the fourth on a hit by Kyle Gaedele (Arlington Heights, Ill./Rolling Meadows H.S.) and a two-run single by O’Gara, making it 5-0 Brown and Gold.
The Bulldogs picked up single runs in the fourth and fifth before the Crusaders added an unearned run in the sixth. Another Scoby RBI single in the ninth added yet another insurance run before Gardner-Webb scored three in the bottom of the ninth on a homerun by Adam McFarland.
Four different Bulldogs each had two hits to pace the hosts’ 12-hit attack.
Valparaiso (4-11) and Gardner-Webb (5-9) will conclude their series with a doubleheader on Saturday. First pitch of game one has been moved up one hour, and will start at 11 a.m. CST.