April 20, 2016123456789RHE
Chicago State200310000670
Win: Jerge (1-0) 1.110003
Loss: McKinney (0-2) 1.221150
Lodden (VALPO) 613500
Hanson (VALPO) 433000
Freund (CSU) 302100
Crusaders Persevere in Slugfest with Chicago State
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Crusaders Persevere in Slugfest with Chicago State
James Stea was 2-for-3 with three runs scored in Valpo's 10-6 victory at Chicago State on Wednesday. (Avery Davis)

For the third time in its last four games, Valpo rode double-digit runs to a victory. The Crusaders accrued 15 hits in a 10-6 win over Chicago State on Wednesday at Cougar Stadium. 

Nolan Lodden (West Des Moines, Iowa/West Des Moines Valley [Heartland CC]) finished a home run shy of the cycle as his 3-for-6 afternoon yielded five RBIs. He's now batting .370 on the season.

Jake Hanson (Yorkville, Ill./Aurora Christian) joined Lodden with a three-hit day of his own. Hanson came around to score three runs as well. Josh Clark (Granada Hills, Calif./Hillcrest Christian [Riverside City]), Dan Delaney (Thousand Oaks, Calif./Thousand Oaks [Fresno State]), and James Stea (Los Alamitos, Calif./Los Alamitos [Golden West]) each pitched in two-hit affairs.

Valpo had two leads dissipate in Wednesday's tilt. Delaney's first-inning RBI double gave the Crusaders a 1-0 lead, but CSU catcher Andy Gertonson struck back with a two-run shot off Grant Inman (Fort Wayne, Ind./Carroll) to grant the Cougars a 2-1 edge.

Lodden and Clark helped prop the Brown and Gold back up with two-out run-scoring hits in the visitor's half of the second. Lodden stroked a Zach Thomas delivery to the left-center gap that brought two teammates home. In the next at-bat, Clark traded places with the Valpo left fielder when he recorded a two-bagger of his own. 

Chicago State used three runs in the fourth and one in the fifth to erase the deficit. Inman surrendered six runs - four earned - in five innings. He struck out a batter and walked one. The Valpo bullpen logged four innings of one-hit ball in relief of the freshman. Senior Scott Jerge (Munster, Ind./Munster) notched his first career victory in the process.

Delaney corked a two-out single in the eighth to break a 6-6 tie. His second knock of the day allowed Stea, who opened the frame with a leadoff walk, to cross the plate.

Lodden gave his pitching staff some wiggle room when he cracked a bases-clearing triple in the ninth to swell the Valpo lead to 10-6. The five runs batted in tied a season high for the senior set back on March 20th at Northern Kentucky. 

The four-run pad wasn't necessary, however. 

Bryce Yoder (Spencerville, Ind./Eastside) worked a 1-2-3 ninth to seal the triumph.

Jerge and Chet Joslyn (Battle Creek, Mich./Lakeview) combined for six strikeouts opposite one walk. 

Valpo (14-17) improved to 3-2 in mid-week games thus far in 2016. The Crusaders will return to the Windy City Friday afternoon for a key doubleheader at Curtis Granderson Stadium. UIC (14-19, 7-4) and Valpo enter the weekend in a tie for second place in the Horizon League standings, one game behind Wright State. First pitch of Friday's game is slated for 12:05 pm CT. The latter game will begin approximately 30 minutes following the conclusion of the opener.

Dalton Lundeen (4-3, 4.00) will oppose RHP Connor Ryan (2-1, 2.35) in Game 1. Mario Losi (2-4, 6.12) is scheduled to get the ball in the second game versus LHP Jake Dahlberg (4-6, 5.96). Links to the audio, video, and live stats are posted at ValpoAthletics.com.