Playing the first of three regular season games at U. S. Steel Yard in Gary, Ind. on Tuesday evening, Valparaiso put plenty of runners on base but stranded 16 while suffering an 11-2 loss to Indiana.
“We left way too many guys on base,” head coach Tracy Woodson said. “That just can’t happen.”
The Hoosiers took advantage of a two-out walk to start the scoring in the opening inning. Three straight singles followed, including a two-run base hit by Michael Early, to put Indiana on top 2-0 before Valpo came to bat.
The Crusaders threatened in their first at bat, loading the bases before a fielder’s choice ended the threat. The Hoosiers added to their lead in the second as Jerrud Sabourin doubled the lead with a two-out, two-run double. Josh Lyon made it 5-0 Indiana in the third lofting a solo homerun onto the concourse in leftfield.
Valpo had its chances in the second and third as well, but again stranded the bases full in the third, and left eight on base during the first three innings.
“Indiana got two out hits today and we didn’t,” Woodson added. “We dug ourselves too deep of a hole and could not recover.”
Walks again led to runs for Indiana in the fourth. A pair of free passes, the fourth and fifth allowed by Valpo starter Austen Siwiec (Aurora, Ill./Marmion Academy), were followed by a three-run homer off the bat of Alex Dickerson, putting the Hoosiers on top 8-0.
The Crusader finally found the scoreboard in the fifth. Robbie Robinson (Brea, Calif./Olinda H.S.) doubled to right with one out. Paul Heinkel (Fond du Lac, Wis./Winnebago Lutheran Academy) followed, legging out an infield single. After Corey Thibault (Tustin, Calif./Foothill H.S.) was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Karch Kowalczyk (Peru, Ill./La Salle-Peru H.S.) lofted a fly ball to shallow right that dropped in, but Thibault was thrown out for a fielder’s choice at second. Robinson scored with Valpo’s first run of the game.
Valpo got another run back in the sixth as Kyle Muhlsteff (Yorba Linda, Calif./Esperanza H.S.) led off with a double. He scored on a two-out single by Kyle Gaedele (Arlington Heights, Ill./Rolling Meadows H.S.).
Indiana added an unearned run in the eighth courtesy of back-to-back Crusader errors and tacked on two more in the ninth to close out the scoring.
Siwiec went four innings while suffering the loss (0-2), allowing eight runs and seven hits while walking five. Jerry Kleman earned the win (1-1) for Indiana (16-15), pitching three scoreless innings walking five and striking out three.
Gaedele was the only Crusader with more than one hit on the day, going 2-for-4 with a RBI as part of Valpo’s eight-hit attack. Dickerson went 3-for-4 for the Hoosiers while driving home three. Indiana finished the night with 11 hits.
Valparaiso (11-19) will return to Emory G. Bauer Field on Wednesday afternoon when the Crusaders host Indiana-Northwest. First pitch is set for 3 p.m.