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.