Freshman Connor Kaucic (Chardon, Ohio/Notre Dame Cathedral Latin) delivered a quality start against the 24th-ranked team in the nation Tuesday, but Valparaiso was unable to break into the run column against a medley of Indiana pitchers in a 4-0 loss at Bart Kaufman Stadium in Bloomington.
The Crusaders' best scoring opportunity presented itself in the third. Spencer Mahoney (La Grange Park, Ill./Lyons Township) collected a one-out single, and Nolan Lodden (West Des Moines, Iowa/West Des Moines Valley [Heartland CC]) drew a four-pitch walk to put two on for Valpo.
Following a pitching change that brought Brian Hobbie into the game, a wild pitch advanced both runners into scoring position with two outs. Hobbie worked around the threat, though, getting a strike-three call on a close breaking pitch with the count full.
Kaucic craftily navigated through the Indiana order for six innings. The Hoosiers managed to scrape a run out in their half of the fourth.
Scott Donley sent a leadoff single up the middle before advancing to second base on a wild pitch. Kaucic summoned a pair of ground outs against the next two batters, but wasn't able to escape unharmed. Will Nolden slapped an 0-2 pitch into center for an RBI single and a 1-0 Indiana lead.
IU tacked on three runs in the bottom of the seventh. A leadoff walk coupled with a throwing error scooted two Hoosiers into scoring position after a sacrifice bunt. Brad Hartong delivered a two-run single past a drawn-in Valpo infield for a three-run cushion. Casey Rodrigue plated Hartong with an opposite-field double, making it 4-0.
Kaucic allowed three runs - two earned - on five hits in six-plus innings of work. He struck out two and walked a pair. Ben Mahar (Mundelein, Ill./Mundelein) yielded one run in two relief innings.
Mahoney, Shea Molitor (Plymouth, Minn./West Lutheran [West Des Moines Area CC]), Jeff Edwards (Massillon, Ohio/Jackson), and Josh Clark (Granada Hills, Calif./Hillcrest Christian [Riverside City]) all recorded hits for the Crusaders. Edwards was hit by a pitch in the seventh as he reached base twice.
Valpo (4-11) will travel to West Lafayette on Wednesday to take on the Purdue Boilermakers (7-11) at Alexander Field. First pitch is slated for 5:30 pm ET/4:30 pm CT. Ellis Foreman (1-0, 5.19) will make his first start of the season for the Brown and Gold.
Changes were made to this weekend's series against Youngstown State just prior to the beginning of today's game
Due to poor field conditions at Eastwood Field in Niles, Ohio, the Crusaders and Penguins will play at Emory G. Bauer Field. The two teams will play a single game Friday at 1:00 pm CT and a double-header on Saturday beginning at 11:00 am CT. Game two will begin 30 minutes after the completion of game one. Live stats will be available for all three games at ValpoAthletics.com.