The Crusaders kept the hit parade going Sunday as they parlayed 13 hits into six runs in a 6-2 win in the series finale at Oakland. Spencer Mahoney (La Grange Park, Ill./Lyons Township) and Jeff Edwards (Massillon, Ohio/Jackson) slugged three hits each while Ryan Fritze (Woodbury, Minn./Woodbury [Des Moines Area CC]) limited the Golden Grizzly offense to two runs over seven innings.
Valpo hopped on top 2-0 in the third when Edwards sent a two-run single up the middle. Giovanni Garbella (San Diego, Calif./Cathedral Catholic), who led off the frame with a double, scored in front of Mahoney, whose single established a runners-on-the-corners scenario. A Nate Green wild pitch allowed Mahoney to scoot up to second.
The Crusaders plated a single run in each of the next four innings.
Nate Palace (Westlake Village, Calif./Oaks Christian) and Chad Jacob (Irvine, Calif./Woodbridge) cracked back-to-back doubles in the fourth to pad Valpo's lead to 3-0.
The Golden Grizzlies made it a one-run game in the home half of the fourth. Oakland went the first three innings without a hit before Trent Drumheller, Robby Enslen stroked consecutive singles before the first out was recorded. Both came around to score when Ian Yetsko sent the first pitch of his at-bat to the left-center field gap. Fritze retired the next three in a row to back into the dugout.
The Brown and Gold's lead doubled in the fifth when Nolan Lodden (West Des Moines, Iowa/West Des Moines Valley [Heartland CC]) touched home on a wild pitch.
Mahoney gave Fritze and the Crusaders a little more breathing room in the sixth. He sent a two-out fastball to right, plating Jacob from second. Jacob opened the inning with his second double of the afternoon.
Dustin Beasley (Round Rock, Texas/Stony Point [Cisco]) collected his fourth RBI of the series in the seventh on a single to left. His knock made it 6-2.
Fritze turned in seven innings where he yielded two runs on seven hits. He walked three and struck out a pair. Sunday represented his second straight quality start.
Trevor Haas (Mount Prospect, Ill./Hersey) and Bryce Yoder (Spencerville, Ind./Eastside) preserved the victory for Fritze - his second of the season - with two scoreless, hitless innings of relief.
Valpo (16-21, 12-8 Horizon) took five of six from Oakland (7-28, 4-16 Horizon) in the season series. The Crusaders will face Chicago State (Tuesday) and Northern Illinois (Wednesday) before hosting Milwaukee (24-15, 10-10 Horizon) at Emory G. Bauer Field in a three-game series beginning Friday. Links to audio and live stats will be available at ValpoAthletics.com.