Seven Crusaders enjoyed multi-hit games at the plate while Mario Losi (Anaheim, Calif./Canyon) delivered seven innings of one-run ball in a 14-1 walloping of Oakland on Saturday. Freshman Giovanni Garbella (San Diego, Calif./Cathedral Catholic) drove in a game-high three runs in just his third collegiate start as Valpo recorded four or more runs in three different frames.
Oakland starter Jacob Dehn kept the Crusaders scoreless until the third, an inning which the first four Crusaders reached base.
Josh Clark (Granada Hills, Calif./Hillcrest Christian [Riverside City]) got the ball rolling with a double down the right-field line. Spencer Mahoney (La Grange Park, Ill./Lyons Township) answered with a single before Jeff Edwards (Massillon, Ohio/Jackson) laid down a perfectly-executed squeeze that allowed Clark to score for the first Valpo run. Nolan Lodden (West Des Moines, Iowa/West Des Moines Valley [Heartland CC]) sent a bouncer to second that got through the fielder's legs and into right. Mahoney scored on the miscue and Edwards advanced to third. Dehn subsequently balked in a run and the Brown and Gold took a 3-0 lead.
Dustin Beasley (Round Rock, Texas/Stony Point [Cisco]) kept the inning going with an opposite-field RBI single. The Crusader DH eventually came around to score on Garbella's first run-scoring hit of the afternoon, a single to left.
Valpo added to its lead in the fourth. Mahoney was issued a leadoff walk and came in to score three batters later when Daniel Delaney (Thousand Oaks, Calif./Thousand Oaks [Fresno State]) roped his 11th double of the season to the left-field corner.
Despite a few lengthy breaks between innings, Losi maintained focus and went to his signature changeup to evade potential threats.
The California crew of Nate Palace (Westlake Village, Calif./Oaks Christian), Chad Jacob (Irvine, Calif./Woodbridge), and Garbella all recorded RBIs in a four-run Valpo sixth.
Oakland didn't force its way into the run column until the seventh. By that time, Robby Enslen's sacrifice fly made it a 10-1 game.
The Crusaders parlayed one hit into four runs in a clumsy ninth.
The Grizz bullpen walked three batters, hit three men, and uncorked two wild pitches in the inning as Valpo's edge ballooned to 14-1.
Losi improved to 4-1 on the season as he lasted seven innings. The sophomore surrendered the lone run on seven hits while punching out five opposite three walks. He lowered his earned run average to 4.27 in the process.
Luke VanLanen (Pulaski, Wis./Pulaski) and Jason Condit (Putnam, Ill./Henry-Senachwine [Illinois Central College[) both fired a shutout inning in relief of the right-hander.
Offensively, Mahoney, Edwards, Delaney, Beasley, Jacob, Garbella, and Clark all had at least two hits. Jacob enjoyed his second three-hit game of the season as he saw his average climb to .298.
The Crusaders piled up 17 hits while accepting ten walks.
Valpo (15-21, 11-8 Horizon) and Oakland (7-27, 4-15 Horizon) will settle the series Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. ET/12:00 p.m. CT at the Oakland Baseball Field. Ryan Fritze (1-4, 4.53) will shoot for his first win in Horizon League play. Links to the video and live stats are available at ValpoAthletics.com.