Dalton Lundeen (Streamwood, Ill./Streamwood) surrendered just one earned run over seven innings of the Crusaders' 7-6 game one win, but Wright State put up a three-spot in the seventh inning of the second game to spoil Valpo's bid for a doubleheader sweep. Wright State won game two by a score of 5-4.
Valpo opened up a 4-0 lead after two innings in its 7-6 victory in the first game.
The first two batters reached in the bottom half of the first. It appeared as though the opportunity was going to go for naught before Dustin Beasley (Round Rock, Texas/Stony Point [Cisco]) sent a two-out single through the left side to plate Spencer Mahoney (La Grange Park,Ill./Lyons Township). Josh Clark (Granada Hills, Calif./Hillcrest Christian [Riverside City]) followed with a single up the middle that scored Nolan Lodden (West Des Moines, Iowa/West Des Moines Valley [Heartland CC]) from second.
The Brown and Gold added another pair in the second. Mark Johnson (Evanston, Ill./Evanston Township) slugged a 2-0 delivery from WSU starter Jesse Scholtens to the right-center gap for a one-out triple. Johnson was able to walk home on a Mahoney double to left-center. Lodden, the next batter, drove Mahoney in with a base hit up the middle.
Wright State sliced the four-run deficit in half in the top of the fourth. Mark Fowler sent a two-out single to left before advancing into scoring position by means of a stolen base. Catcher Sean Murphy knocked him in with a single to center. It seemed as though Lundeen was going to get out of the inning without further ado, but a pop-up in foul territory wasn't squeezed. Given new life, Ryan Fucci shot an RBI double down the left-field line to make it 4-2.
Valpo recorded an insurance run in the bottom half of the fifth.
A pair of walks came back to bite Scholtens when Jeff Edwards (Massillon, Ohio/Jackson) sent a sac fly to center, scoring Daniel Delaney (Thousand Oaks, Calif./Thousand Oaks [Fresno State]).
The Crusaders tacked on two more in the following frame. Mahoney's third hit of the game scored Johnson who reached on a throwing error. Mahoney eventually came around to score on a double to left off the bat of Delaney.
On the other side of the ball, Lundeen (2-3) threw up zeroes in the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings as he piled up nine strikeouts. He allowed two runs - one earned - on five hits while walking two.
The Valpo bullpen was just good enough to preserve Lundeen's second win of the season. The Crusaders allowed four runs in the final two innings, but Bryce Yoder (Spencerville, Ind./Eastside) stranded the tying run on third base in the ninth to gather his third save of the season.
Mahoney finished 3-for-4 with three runs scored and two runs batted in. Lodden, Clark and Johnson each enjoyed two-hit tilts.
Wright State reliever Jack Van Horn allowed a pair of unearned runs in place of Scholtens. Van Horn threw three innings and allowed three hits. Scholtens (4-1) suffered his first loss of 2015, yielding five runs in 4 1/3 innings. His pitch count elevated early partly due to four walks and six strikeouts.
The Raiders got revenge in the afternoon contest, erasing a 4-2 deficit en route to a 5-4 win.
Edwards broke a scoreless tie in the second with a two-run single that scored Beasley and Clark. Beasley opened the frame with a triple to the left-center field gap.
Wright State answered back in its next at-bat. After issuing a leadoff walk to Jason DeFevers and allowing an infield single to Murphy, Ryan Fritze (Woodbury, Minn./Woodbury [Des Moines Area CC]) surrendered an RBI double to shortstop Mitch Roman. Andrew McCafferty knotted the game at 2-2 following a sacrifice fly to center.
Valpo reacquired its two-run lead in the bottom of the third. Delaney sped home on a sac fly off the bat of Edwards for a 3-2 advantage. Johnson followed with a double down the right-field line that allowed Clark to score from second.
Fritze and the Crusaders kept Wright State off the scoreboard until the seventh.
The right-hander retired the leadoff man before running the count full and subsequently walking Murphy. Roman singled to right field on an 0-2 pitch to send Murphy to third. McCafferty recorded his second sac fly of the game to trim the margin to 4-3. Michael Timm tied it up at 4-4 just one batter later, doubling to left field.
Reliever Trevor Haas (Mount Prospect, Ill./Hersey) was called into action following Timm's two-bagger. Facing Gabe Snyder, the junior got the ground ball he needed, but Edwards was unable to field it cleanly, and Timm was able to come around and score home from second.
Valpo had a golden opportunity to tie - or take the lead - in the bottom half. Clark stroked a leadoff single, then went first-to-third on a Shea Molitor (Plymouth, Minn./West Lutheran [Des Moines Area CC]) single. Molitor astutely took second base on the throw into third base.
Even though it was the seventh inning, Wright State went to closer Andrew Elliott to get out of the dicey situation. Elliott got Edwards to send a tapper back to the mound requiring the runners to retreat to second and third, respectively, for the first out. The right-hander then got Johnson and Mahoney down on strikes to protect the one-run lead.
Elliott kept the Crusader offense at bay over the final innings. Valpo put two runners aboard in the eighth, but a shallow fly out and strike out ran the Brown and Gold out of the frame.
Logan Blair (1-0) was credited with the win as Wright State held on for a 5-4 win. Elliott worked three scoreless frames to earn his fourth save of the year. He struck out four, walked one, and surrendered a hit.
Fritze (1-3) turned in 6 2/3 innings on the mound for Valparaiso. The junior allowed five runs - four earned - on seven hits while recording three walks and three strikeouts.
Edwards tallied three runs batted in while Molitor went 1-for-2 with three walks. Four Crusader relievers combined to throw 2 1/3 scoreless innings.
The two teams will battle for the series victory Sunday afternoon at 1 pm CT. Valpo (9-12, 5-3 Horizon) will send Mario Losi (2-1, 4.15) and his 16-inning scoreless streak to the hill opposite Wright State (18-7, 7-1 Horizon)'s Luke Mamer (1-0, 1.99). WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso) will have the action live from Emory G. Bauer Field. The audio link is up at ValpoAthletics.com.