Making up a game which was postponed from Friday due to cold and snowy weather, Valparaiso was unable to complete the weekend sweep of Youngstown State on Sunday morning, falling 8-1 to the Penguins at Eastwood Field in Niles, Ohio.
“We didn’t swing the bats very well today,” head coach Tracy Woodson said. “Their starter (Blake Aquadro) kept the ball away all day and we didn’t make any adjustments.”
With the game scoreless in the bottom fourth, the hosts broke through with four runs, including a pair of unearned tallies. Armani Johnson had a two-run double to put the Penguins on the board and Derek Carr followed with a run-scoring hit. A groundout produced the fourth run of the inning.
Valpo got its only run in the fifth as Karch Kowalczyk (Peru, Ill./La Salle-Peru H.S.) drew a lead off walk. He moved to second on a free pass to Kyle Muhlsteff (Yorba Linda, Calif./Esperanza H.S.). Justin Frane (Huntertown, Ind./Carroll H.S.) followed with a RBI single, but that would be the only time the Crusaders would cross home plate on the afternoon.
Three more runs crossed the plate for Youngstown State in the sixth to add to the advantage. Two scored on wild pitches and the third came home on a single by Tom Clayton. The Penguins added their final run in the eighth on a pinch hit single off the bat of Casey Holland.
Valparaiso managed just six hits on the afternoon, four coming off of Aquadro, who pitched eight innings and struck out five while walking six to earn the win (1-1). Frane and Robbie Robinson (Brea, Calif./Olinda H.S.) each had two hits for the Brown and Gold.
Tyler Deetjen (Saint Charles, Ill./East H.S.) suffered the loss (1-1) for Valpo, allowing four runs, two of which were earned, and six hits in 4.2 innings of work. Youngstown State (14-14, 5-4 Horizon) had 11 hits on the afternoon, including three by Clayton.
Valparaiso (11-19, 2-1) will return to action on Tuesday evening, hosting Indiana at U.S. Steel Yard in Gary. First pitch is set for 7 p.m.