Trevor Haas (Mount Prospect, Ill./Hersey), Jake Hanson (Yorkville, Ill./Aurora Christian), and Ellis Foreman (Round Rock, Tex./Stony Point) were all magnificent Sunday in a doubleheader sweep of Oakland at Emory G. Bauer Field. Haas improved to 4-1 on the season as he went the distance in the opener to nail down Valpo's 3-2 win. Hanson accumulated eight RBIs in the second game to power the Crusader offense while Foreman notched eight shutout innings in a 17-2 rout.
The Crusaders relied on the sac fly for all three of their runs in the noon tilt. Jeff Edwards (Massillon, Ohio/Jackson) erased a 1-0 deficit in the fourth with a fly ball to left that was just deep enough for Josh Clark (Granada Hills, Calif./Hillcrest Christian [Riverside City]) to tag from third. Freshman Scott Kapers (Schererville, Ind./Mt. Carmel) put the Crusaders ahead 2-1 in the very next at-bat with a sacrifice fly on his own that plated Nate Palace (Westlake Village, Calif./Oaks Christian).
Haas paddled around a multitude of Oakland hits in the first three innings thanks to the double-play ball. The Golden Grizzlies finally converted when their leadoff man reached in the fifth. Ryan Fitzgerald opened the frame with a single up the middle. The center fielder advanced himself into scoring position with a stolen base ahead of Mike Brosseau's at-bat. Brosseau came through with a game-tying base hit to center.
Valpo answered with a single tally in its half of the fifth on a Clark sac fly. James Stea (Los Alamitos, Calif./Los Alamitos [Golden West]) raced home on a medium-depth ball to left for his 52nd run scored of the season.
After surrendering nine hits through his first five innings, Haas experienced a rejuvenation over the game's final three frames.
He retired the last ten men he faced in order, eliciting seven ground ball outs and punching out one. The senior entered the ninth inning at the 100-pitch mark and was aided by a pair of first-pitch outs to begin the final Oakland at-bat. Matt DiLeo hit a harmless ground ball to Shea Molitor (Plymouth, Minn./West Lutheran [Des Moines Area CC]) at third base for the 27th out.
The complete-game effort was Haas's second of the season versus Oakland. He shut the Grizz out back on April 16th to earn Horizon League Pitcher of the Week nominee honors. The righty is now 4-1 with a 3.07 earned-run average. At home, he's 2-0 with a 2.18 ERA.
For the Valpo offense, it was the second time this season they notched a victory without recording a hit with runners in scoring position.
Speaking of offense, Hanson provided a month's worth in his start behind the plate in the second tilt.
His two-run single in the first extended the Valpo lead to 3-0 after Nolan Lodden (West Des Moines, Iowa./West Des Moines Valley [Heartland CC]) touched home on a stolen base followed by an error to open the scoring. Chase Dawson (Chesterton, Ind./Chesterton) piled on a two-run single of his own later in the inning to complete the five-run frame.
Foreman didn't need it, but he received a waterfall of run support en route to his first W of the campaign. Hanson doubled home Palace and Molitor in the second to run his RBI total to four. That figure swelled to seven in the fourth when he emptied the bases with a two-bagger to the wall in left field. He put the exclamation point on his afternoon in the eighth with a solo dinger to dead center.
Between Hanson's seventh and eighth RBIs, Palace greeted Golden Grizzly reliever Jonah Lakatos with a grand slam that made it 16-0.
Foreman maintained his focus despite the lopsided score. He lowered his ERA to 3.72 with eight scoreless innings. Foreman gave way to Ryan Fritze (Woodbury, Minn./Woodbury [Des Moines Area CC]), who secured the 17-2 triumph.
Valpo (24-26, 14-12 Horizon) will close out the regular season next week when Youngstown State comes to town. The two teams will engage in a three-game set beginning Thursday afternoon at 3 pm at Emory G. Bauer Field. Live stats will be available for all three contests.