Wright State won the middle game of a three-game Horizon League weekend series from Valparaiso on Saturday afternoon by the score of 4-2 at Emory G. Bauer Field.
The Crusaders managed just four hits on the afternoon, but committed three errors defensively and allowed two of the four runs to be scored with two outs after surrendering all seven runs on Friday in the same situation.
“We didn’t swing the bats well today, but what I’m even more disappointed in was our lack of communication in the field,” head coach Tracy Woodson said afterwards. “That just can’t happen and we need to do a better job of that.”
Valpo looked poised for a big inning in the first as Andrew Bain (Indianapolis, Ind./Park Tudor H.S.) and Tanner Vavra (Menomonie, Wis./Menomonie H.S.) drew back-to-back walks to lead off the game. Will Hagel (Arlington Heights, Ill./Prospect H.S.) was hit by a pitch to load the bases and Wright State changed pitches just three batters into the contest.
Chris Manning (Lake Forest, Calif./El Toro H.S.) plated Bain on a sacrifice fly, and Andrew Elliott induced two more outs as the Raiders escaped the first trailing by just one.
“We had a chance to do some damage early and just didn’t do it,” Woodson added. “They brought Elliott in and he did a good job keeping us off of the board for five innings.”
Wright State scored a pair of runs in the fourth to take the lead. Corey Davis led off the inning with his second home run in as many days. A bases loaded fielder’s choice off of the bat of Kyle Mossbarger made it 2-1 as Tristan Moore scored.
Kevin Wild (Brown Deer, Wis./Brown Deer H.S.) did not surrender another run to Wright State as he worked through seven innings. Despite taking the loss (1-1), Wild allowed just the two runs on five hits while striking out seven.
“He’s really throwing the ball well right now,” Woodson stated. “He’s pitching with confidence. We just need to find a way to get him some run support.”
The Raiders added a run in the eighth with two outs as Ryan Ashe singled and Justin Kopale followed with a double into the gap in left-center.
The Crusaders answered in the bottom of the eighth as Bain and Vavra singled to lead off the inning and moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Hagel. Manning delivered his second sacrifice fly of the game to cut the deficit to one, but Valpo could not plate the tying run.
Wright State added one more insurance run in the ninth on a throwing error to close the scoring.
Vavra went 2-for-3 at the plate to lead Valpo’s four-hit offense while Bain scored both runs. Kopale and Sam Picchiotti each had two hits apiece for the Raiders.
Andrew Elliott earned the win (1-0) with five innings of scoreless relief for the Raiders, allowing just two hits. Michael Schum picked up his fourth save of the year, allowing one run and two hits in two innings of work.
Valparaiso (8-16, 4-4 Horizon) and Wright State (14-10, 6-2) will wrap up their three-game series on Sunday afternoon. First pitch is slated for 1 p.m. at Emory G. Bauer Field.