It may have been April Fools Day, but the Crusader offense experienced Groundhog Day in an 11-1 loss to Notre Dame Tuesday night at Four Winds Field in South Bend, Indiana.
While the pitching and defense were also culpable, the Brown and Gold are in the midst of a streak of 31 consecutive innings without posting more than one run in an inning.
Kyle Fiala helped break a scoreless tie when he snuck a double inside the first base bag to lead off the bottom of the second. He jogged over to third in the next at-bat as Cavan Biggio dropped a single to right-center field. Both runners came in to score later in the inning when catcher Forrest Johnson lifted a triple to deep left field. Notre Dame shortstop Lane Richards made it 3-0 Irish with a two-out single to right scoring Johnson.
Michael Morman (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic) got Valpo into the run column in the fourth when he buzzed a line drive off the glove of Fiala at third base. The hit brought in Chris Manning (Lake Forest, Calif./El Toro), who had connected for a triple down the right field line two batters prior.
The 3-1 Irish lead lasted just a half inning as Notre Dame piled on three runs in its half of the fourth. Five straight batters reached against Crusader starter Ellis Foreman (Round Rock, Texas/Stony Point) as Richards continued to be a thorn in Valpo's side. The shortstop recorded his second and third runs batted in of the night with a bases-loaded, artificial turf-aided chopper over Morman's head at third base.
Notre Dame assembled a two-spot in the 5th and a single run in the 6th as it opened a 9-1 lead.
In last Wednesday's game, starter Nick McCarty gave the Irish six innings of one-run ball on three hits. Tuesday night, Scott Kerrigan matched McCarty's body of work with six innings, three hits, one run, no walks, and three strikeouts.
Morman registered his team-high ninth multi-hit game as he was 2-for-4 at the dish. First baseman Andrew Bynum (Huntington Beach, Calif./Ocean View [Orange Coast CC]) also smacked two hits in addition to making several solid defensive stops.
Valparaiso (9-12, 1-2 Horizon) will turn around and hold its home opener Wednesday afternoon at Emory G. Bauer Field. Drew Hasler (1-1, 5.28) will get the ball in the 3:05 pm CT start.
Links to the live stats are up at valpoathletics.com.