Valparaiso scored three times in the top of the ninth inning to force extras on Saturday afternoon but Austin Peay pushed across the winning run in the bottom of the 11th inning to defeat the Crusaders 11-10 at Raymond C. Hand Park in Clarksville, Tenn. in the middle game of a three-game weekend series.
The Crusaders led 7-2 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning, but the Governors scored twice in the seventh and six times in the eighth to carry the lead into the ninth.
Freshmen Chris Manning (Lake Forest, Calif./El Toro H.S.) and Michael Morman (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic H.S.) each had three hits as part of the Crusaders’ 16-hit attack and scored three runs each. Kyle Gaedele (Arlington Heights, Ill./Rolling Meadows H.S.) and Bobby Martin (Crystal Lake, Ill./Prairie Ridge H.S.) both drove home four runs, but Crusader hurlers walked nine batters from the eighth inning on.
Gaedele put the Crusaders on top in the third with a sacrifice fly before answered in the fourth with a two-run homer for the Governors.
Martin tied the game with a double in the fifth and Gaedele followed with a two-run single. Ryan O’Gara (Buffalo Grove, Ill./Buffalo Grove H.S.) added a RBI single to make it 5-2 Valpo after five innings.
In the sixth, Valpo added to its lead. Steven Scoby (Delton, Mich./Delton Kellogg H.S.) scored on a throwing error and Gaedele added another RBI hit to give the Crusaders a five-run advantage.
John Hogan cut the lead to three with a two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh before the Governors posted six runs in the eight to take the lead. Austin Peay scored the six runs on just two hits. Five walks in the inning, including three that forced home runs, were the difference.
In the Valpo ninth, Morman and Manning led off with singles and Martin followed with his first collegiate home run to tie the game at nine.
The game stayed tied at 10 until the 11th when a leadoff walk, an error, and an intentional walk loaded the bases. Cody Hudson then singled to left to plate the winning run.
Damon McCormick (Louisville, Ky./Saint Xavier H.S.) started for Valpo and worked seven innings, allowing four runs and 11 hits, walking just two and fanning four. Cyrus Wimberly (Rockford, Ill./Guilford H.S.) suffered the loss (0-1) walking three and allowing a hit in one plus inning of work.
Mike Hebert earned the win (1-0) for Austin Peay, pitching the final 2.2 innings in relief.
Valparaiso (0-2) and Austin Peay (2-0) will wrap up their three-game season opening series on Sunday afternoon. First pitch is set for noon at Raymond C. Hand Park.