For the fourth straight time, Dalton Lundeen (Streamwood, Ill./Streamwood) was denied his fourth win. A victim of poor run support in his prior three outings, Lundeen fell prey to three Crusader errors in a 6-4 loss to Wright State at Nischwitz Stadium in Dayton.
The second inning saw a run in each frame.
In the top half, Karch Kowalczyk (Peru, Ill./La Salle-Peru) sent a laser out to left field for his fifth home run of the year. The solo shot represented the fourth time in the season series that Valpo scored first.
Wright State answered with an unearned mark in the bottom half. Brad Macciocchi reached second base on a throwing error before scoring on a Kieston Greene single to left center, the Raiders' only hit the first time through the order.
In the fourth, Kowalczyk and Michael Morman (Rockford, Ill./Boylan Catholic) were on first and second base, respectively, when Andy Burns bounced a one-out single to the left side of the infield. WSU shortstop Joe Ford's late throw to second for a force out ended up in short center field, allowing Morman to race home.
The Raiders again countered when faced with a deficit. Lundeen's only walk of the day came around to score when Greene lifted a 1-2 delivery over the wall in left. The outfielder's second round-tripper of the season put Wright State ahead 3-2.
The Crusaders got right back at it in the fifth when they gave their starting pitcher his third lead of the day. Chris Manning (Lake Forest, Calif./El Toro) scored all the way from first when Morman ripped a double over the third base bag. Andrew Bynum (Huntington Beach, Calif./Ocean View [Orange Coast CC]) made it 4-3 when he sent an RBI single back up the box that plated Morman.
Wright State took a 6-4 lead in the decisive seventh inning.
Valpo loaded the bases with nobody out against reliever Jack Van Horn in the top of the frame. But a shallow fly ball to left followed by an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play allowed the righty to escape unscathed.
Lundeen retired the first man in the bottom half, which meant he faced Ford with the bases empty. Ford appeared to be retired when he skied a 1-2 pitch into foul territory. Bynum was under it and the ball dropped on what seemed to be the exchange. The first base umpire ruled that Bynum never secured it. Given second life, Ford recorded an infield single.
Pinch-hitter John Brodner subsequently drove a soft liner into center that went in and out of Bryce Hara (Irvine, Calif./Northwood [Irvine Valley College])'s glove, putting two runners on with one away. Lundeen got Jason DeFevers to fly out to center for the second out. Michael Timm tied the game with a single up the middle, and Jeff Limbaugh supplied the game-winning hit with a two-run double to right center.
Only two of the six runs charged to Lundeen (3-6) were earned. The sophomore lasted 6 2/3 innings, walked one and struck out six.
Down 6-4 entering the eighth inning, the Crusaders were unable to manufacture a comeback against relievers Taylor Braun and Andrew Elliott.
Bryce Yoder (Spencerville, Ind./Eastside) registered 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief for the Brown and Gold.
Valpo (20-25, 9-11) stranded eleven men on base in their fifth road loss in Horizon League play.
The rubber game of the series will pit RHP Ellis Foreman (2-6, 6.71) against Raider southpaw Robby Sexton (7-4, 3.44). First pitch is slated for 1:00 pm ET/12:00 pm CT. Links to the video and live stats are available at valpoathletics.com.