Kevin Wild (Brown Deer, Wis./Brown Deer H.S.) tossed eight-innings of shutout baseball leading Valparaiso to a 10-0 victory over Youngstown State on Saturday afternoon in game two of a weekend series at Eastwood Field in Niles, Ohio.
Wild scattered just five hits in the victory (3-1), while walking two and striking out two in the eight innings of work. Over his last six starts the senior has allowed just 29 hits in 46 innings of work.
“Wild goes right after hitters,” head coach Tracy Woodson said after the game. “He’s on a mission right now.”
Valpo’s offense gave him an early lead to work with, scoring once in the second and five times in the third. A two-out single in the second inning by Spencer Mahoney (LaGrange Park, Ill./Lyons Township H.S.) brought home Elliott Martin (Irvine, Calif./University H.S.).
The Crusaders batted around in the third inning. Tanner Vavra (Menomonie, Wis./Menomonie H.S.) singled home the first run of the inning while Will Hagel (Arlington Heights, Ill./Prospect H.S.) followed with a run-scoring base hit. Martin delivered a two-run double to make it 5-0 Crusaders as the first five batters of the inning all registered hits. Martin scored on a sacrifice fly by Chris Manning (Lake Forest, Calif./El Toro H.S.), giving the Brown and Gold the six-run advantage.
“Anytime you score early you can give the pitcher a bit of confidence,” Woodson added. “Our biggest problem has been scoring early and then letting teams back in the game. Today we didn’t do that. We did a good job of adding on.”
Youngstown State starter Nic Manuppelli suffered the loss (1-3), allowing six runs on seven hits while working just the three innings.
Reliever Ryan Krokos kept the Valpo bats in check throughout the middle innings, allowing just one unearned run in the sixth. Hagel singled home Andrew Bain (Indianapolis, Ind./Park Tudor H.S.), who reached on a two-out error.
Valpo tacked on three more runs in the ninth to reach double figures for the fourth time this season. Steven Scoby (Delton, Mich./Delton Kellogg H.S.) doubled home Manning in the ninth and Bain added a sacrifice fly. Vavra came through with a double of his own to cap the scoring, plating Scoby.
The Penguins threatened in the ninth, loading the bases with no one out against Zack Walsh (Batesville, Ind./Batesville H.S.) but could not break up the shutout.
“I thought we were really good in all aspects of the game today,” Woodson stated. “We swung the bats, pitched well and played defense. We got out of a couple minor jams.”
Valpo finished the day with 11 hits with Vavra, Hagel, Martin, Mahoney, and Scoby all tallying two each.
You always want to take two out of three on the road but when you take the first two you have to be ready to come out and get the third one,” Woodson concluded. “We hope to do that tomorrow.”
Valparaiso (14-19, 8-6 Horizon) and Youngstown State (4-29, 2-12) will wrap up their three-game series on Sunday afternoon as the Crusaders look for the sweep. First pitch is set for 11 a.m. CDT at Eastwood Field.