The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee rallied with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game before winning in 11 innings and then defeated Valparaiso again in the nightcap of the doubleheader by scores of 7-5 and 3-0 on Saturday afternoon at Henry Aaron Field in Milwaukee, Wis.
“Our starting pitching was good today,” head coach Tracy Woodson said. “We just couldn’t close the first game out. We had several opportunities to score runs and just didn’t. The second game seemed to be a let down, especially after we had two on in the first and couldn’t score.”
Robbie Robinson (Brea, Calif./Olinda H.S.) had three hits and drove in a pair of runs in the opener, and the Crusaders jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, but Tim Patzman hit a two-out two-run homer in the 11th to cap the comeback.
Kyle Gaedele (Arlington Heights, Ill./Rolling Meadows H.S.) put Valpo on the scoreboard in the top of the first with a run-scoring double. Robinson followed with another double to plate Gaedele, and scored himself on an error as the Crusaders took a 3-0 lead.
The Panthers answered with three unearned runs in the bottom of the inning though, to retie the game. A groundout and a two-run single by Paul Hoenecke plated all three runs after a one-out error loaded the bases.
A sacrifice fly off of the bat of David Klein (Aurora, Ill./Oswego East H.S.) scored Robinson in the third as the Brown and Gold retook the lead 4-3. The game stayed that way until the bottom of the sixth when Hoenecke delivered Milwaukee’s third straight single to knot the game.
Robinson answered immediately for the Crusaders in the seventh, singling home Gaedele with the go-ahead run, and Valpo would maintain its lead until the ninth.
With two outs and a runner on first, back-to-back singles, the latter by Dan Buchholz, tied the game and sent it into extra innings. Valpo put a runner on third with two outs in the 11th, but that would be its only threat as Patzman ended the game with his blast with two outs in the bottom of the inning.
Austen Siwiec (Aurora, Ill./Marmion Academy) suffered the loss (1-3) in relief for the Crusaders after Bryce Shafer (Wabash, Ind./Northfield H.S.) started and went eight innings, allowing four runs, only one of which was earned, and seven hits while striking out seven. Greg Blahowiak earned the win (1-0) for the Panthers, pitching the final four innings and allowing just one hit.
In the nightcap, Patzman went 3-for-4 for Milwaukee while Jeff Gordon and Cameron Amsrud combined on the shutout, scattering just seven hits and walking just one.
The game was scoreless into the fifth when Valpo threatened, loading the bases with one out. A line drive double play allowed the Panthers to keep the game scoreless. In the bottom of the fifth, Cole Kraft broke the scoreless deadlock with a RBI single. Crusaders starter Damon McCormick (Louisville, Ky./Saint Xavier H.S.) avoided further damage though, and kept the deficit at just one into the seventh.
Milwaukee added a pair of insurance tallies in the seventh on the way to earning the shutout victory.
Kyle Muhlsteff (Yorba Linda, Calif./Esperanza H.S.) and Andrew Bain (Indianapolis, Ind./Park Tudor H.S.) had two hits each for the Crusaders, but Valpo hit into three double plays to end any rallies they tried to start.
McCormick pitched seven innings while suffering the loss (4-1) for the Crusaders, allowing three runs and 10 hits. He did not walk a batter. Gordon went 6.2 innings to earn the win (3-0) for Milwaukee (20-19, 9-6 Horizon) while Amsrud finished up for his fifth save of the year.
Valparaiso (18-24, 6-5) will return to the diamond on Tuesday evening as the Crusaders return to U. S. Steel Yard in Gary to battle Northwestern. First pitch is set for 7 p.m.