Chris Manning (Lake Forest, Calif./El Toro) added another chapter to his productive and consistent legacy Wednesday as he became Valpo's all-time leader in runs scored in an 8-4 win over Western Michigan at Homer Stryker Field in Kalamazoo.
Michael Morman (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic) plated three runs with one swing in the Crusader half of the third inning. The third baseman jumped on a fastball from WMU starter Pat Haynes that one-hopped the left-center fence, allowing Manning, Bryce Hara (Irvine, Calif./Northwood [Irvine Valley College]) and Ray Bartolomucci (Concord, Calif./De La Salle) all to touch home.
For Manning, it represented his 158th career run, tying him for most all-time in school history alongside former Crusaders Mark Pedersen and Michael Arensdorff.
Armed with a three-run lead for the first time in two months, freshman Mario Losi (Anaheim, Calif./Canyon) tossed up zeroes in the next three frames.
Bartolomucci gave the right-hander an insurance tally thanks to a sacrifice fly in the top of the sixth. The catcher's third RBI of the season made it 4-0.
The Broncos sliced the deficit in half in the sixth. Western Michigan got its first run on an infield error before catcher Caleb Caton lifted a sac fly to bring the score to 4-2.
Valpo delivered the backbreaker in a three-run top of the seventh, the inning where Manning broke the career watermark.
After improving to 3-for-3 on the day with a single up the middle, Manning advanced to second on a line drive base hit to left off the bat of Morman. Karch Kowalczyk (Peru, Ill./La Salle-Peru) followed with a single to right-center that brought in Manning, giving the senior the record.
Andrew Bynum (Huntington Beach, Calif./Ocean View [Orange Coast CC]) and Andy Burns (Edwardsville, Ill./Edwardsville [Heartland CC]) added back-to-back opposite-field RBI singles to push the Brown and Gold's lead to 7-2.
Valpo added another run in the eighth after Morman peppered the right-center field wall for his second double of the afternoon.
He finished the day 3-for-4 with two doubles and four runs batted in. His average climbed to .301 as a result.
Losi gave the Crusaders eight innings on the mound, tying his longest outing this season. The freshman surrendered seven hits, three runs (two earned), one walk and three strikeouts.
Ben Mahar (Mundelein, Ill./Mundelein) threw the ninth in the 8-4 victory, Valpo's first in Kalamazoo since May 5th, 2004.
The Crusaders entered Wednesday's game with a 3-18 all-time record on the road versus Western Michigan. Two of those wins came on one day (5/20/77) in the Emory G. Bauer Era.
Valpo (19-24) will head to Dayton this weekend for a three-game series against the Horizon League regular season champion Wright State Raiders (28-18, 21-2) beginning Friday. Links to the live stats are available at valpoathletics.com.