Valpo scored runs in each of the first three innings en route to its tenth consecutive win Tuesday. The 5-2 victory over Chicago State thrusts the Crusaders over the .500 mark for the first time this season.
Tanner Vavra and Spencer Mahoney both recorded two hits and a run batted in as the Crusaders handed the Cougars their 12th loss in 13 games.
Kyle Wormington (4-7) made the start for Valparaiso and lasted four innings, allowing four hits and a walk. On a pitch count, the senior earned the win and fanned five in his third victory in as many outings.
Valpo pushed across two runs in the first inning thanks to a Karch Kowalczyk two-run double into the power alley in left-center field that scored Andrew Bain and Bryce Hara.
Vavra supplied the third run for the Crusaders with an RBI single in the second inning.
After an unearned Cougar tally in the top of third, Andrew Bynum laced a single to left that scored Mahoney to put the locals up 4-1.
Jerry Silva came on in relief for Chicago State in the fourth and kept the Crusaders off-balance until the home half of the 7th inning.
Silva hit Vavra with a 2-1 delivery to lead off the frame. Vavra subsequently swiped second, his 10th stolen base of the season.
After a well-placed bunt single from Chris Manning, Mahoney plated the Crusader second baseman with an RBI ground out.
Valpo used a medley of relievers from the fifth inning on.
Drew Hasler, Trevor Haas, Connor Buxton, Mike Jacobs, and Ryan Kennedy worked an inning apiece in preserving Valpo's 24th win of the 2013 campaign.
Kennedy threw the top of the 9th for his first save of the season.
Valpo (24-23, 10-8 Horizon) will rest up for a couple days before beginning another crucial Horizon League series Friday against UIC (21-24, 8-10 Horizon) at Les Miller Field.
The Crusaders currently sit one game back of first-place Milwaukee in the standings.