Official Athletic Site of the Valparaiso University Crusaders
Valpo Rallies in Ninth to Defeat Western Illinois in Mid-Con Tournament First Round
Zach Rodeghero
Zach Rodeghero

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Trailing by six with two innings to play and by four with one out in the ninth, Valparaiso rallied with a monumental comeback, scoring seven times in the final inning, to defeat Western Illinois 13-10 on Thursday afternoon at Alfred D. Boyer Field in Macomb, Ill. in the opening round of the Mid-Continent Conference Tournament.

The Crusaders allowed nine unearned runs early in the game, but continually fought back. The victory was the first opening round victory since 1998 and just the second since the tournament went to the double elimination format in 1985.

Trailing 10-6 going into the ninth, Valpo mounted its uprising. Ryan Manthei (Kenosha, Wis./Tremper H.S.) led off the inning with a single up the middle and Jason Brunelli (Greenfield, Wis./Greenfield H.S.) followed with a double to the gap in left-center. The Leathernecks changed pitchers, and Rob Johnson got the first hitter on a fly out. Brian Rzpeka (South Bend, Ind./Penn H.S.) singled to center to start the comeback, driving in Manthei. Dallas Cawiezell (Long Grove, Iowa/North Scott H.S.) hit a pinch hit triple to right-center to cut the deficit to 10-9. After a strikeout, Jeff Rickert (Hamilton, Ohio/Fairfield H.S.) singled to shallow center to knot the game at 10. Following a walk to Michael Arensdorff (Eldridge, Iowa/North Scott H.S.), Zach Rodeghero (New Lenox, Ill./Providence Catholic H.S.) hit a three-run homer over the centerfield fence to put Valpo in front for the first time on the day, and cap the inning.

Arensdorff crossed the plate for the third time on the homer, giving him 157 for his career, one shy of the Valparaiso school record. He also doubled for the 17th time on the season in the eighth inning, giving him 57 for his career, also just one shy of the school mark.

Cawiezell then pitched the ninth, striking out a pair, to earn his seventh save of the season and 10th of his career, moving him into sole possession of third place on the Crusaders' career save list.

A two-out error in the third inning proved costly for the Crusaders, leading to six unearned Leatherneck runs. With two outs, back-to-back singles and an error loaded the bases. Matt Newquist doubled to left-center to drive in the first three runs of the game. Another double by Jake Corley and a single by Kyle Surprenaunt made it 5-0 before T.J. Kistner drove home the final run of the inning with a triple to right.

Valpo immediately started chipping away at the lead. Rickert led off the fourth with a single and Arensdorff followed with the same. Rodeghero drove home the first Crusader run with a single to left-center. With two outs, Josh Piazza (Glenview, Ill./Notre Dame H.S.) registered the fourth single of the inning to drive in Arensdorff, cutting the deficit to 6-2.

Jake Corley's single through a drawn in infield in the fifth brought home Travis Check to increase Western Illinois' lead to 7-2. Brett Pendall's double in the sixth added another unearned run to the board as well. Valpo had chances in both the fourth and fifth, but stranded three runners in scoring position during those frames.

The Crusaders took advantage of runners in the seventh. John Giusti (Coventry, R.I./Coventry H.S.) and Arensdorff both singled. With two outs, Manthei doubled to the left-centerfield gap to plate both runners, cutting Valpo's deficit to 8-4. The Leathernecks added two more runs, one unearned, in the seventh, on a sacrifice fly and a two-out error.

The Brown and Gold offense continued to battle back in the eighth. With two outs, Josh Wallace (Bellefountaine, Ohio/Bellefountaine H.S.) singled and John Giusti (Coventry, R.I./Coventry H.S.) followed with a ground-rule double to center, putting runners on second and third. Rickert followed with a single off the pitcher, his third hit of the day. Arensdorff followed with an RBI double down the leftfield line, cutting the Western Illinois lead to 10-6, setting the stage for the final inning.

Harvey Yergin (Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy) worked 5.1 innings for the Crusaders in the starting assignment, and did not allow an earned run. Austen Siwiec (Aurora, Ill./Marmion Academy) pitched a scoreless eighth to earn his first collegiate victory (1-0). Johnson (6-6) suffered the loss for Western Illinois, allowing five runs and four hits in his one inning of work.

Rickert led Valpo's 20-hit attack on the day with a 4-for-6 performance while Arensdorff and Manthei each had three hits a piece. Surprenaunt went 3-for-5 to lead Western Illinois, as the hosts banged out 11 hits of their own on the afternoon.

Valparaiso (22-32) will advance to face Oral Roberts (38-15), the tournament's top seed, on Friday afternoon at 1:15 p.m. in the winner's bracket. Western Illinois (31-25) will face Centenary (26-30) in the loser's bracket at 10 a.m. The Golden Eagles defeated the Gents 20-0 in the first game on Thursday.
M Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 11 5th/17 (20)
W Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 11 9th/18 (12)
M Tennis Valpo 5 Detroit, Mich.
Apr 11 Detroit 2
Baseball Youngstown State 7 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 11 Valpo 10
M Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 12 6th/20 (48)
W Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 12 6th/20 (60.50)
W Golf Crusader/Jaguar Challenge Valparaiso, Ind. (The Course at Aberdeen)
Apr 12 3rd/6 (335); 4th/6 (350)
M Golf Bluegrass Invitational Lexington, Ky. (University Club Big Blue Course)
Apr 12 t-7th/13 (588)
M Soccer St. Joseph's College Eastgate Field
Apr 12, 10:00 a.m. Valpo
Baseball Youngstown State 1 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 12, 10:00 a.m. Valpo 13
Softball Cleveland State 3 VU Softball Field
Apr 12, 10:00 a.m. Valpo 2
Volleyball Western Michigan/Butler/Eastern Michigan ARC
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Valpo
Softball Cleveland State 4 VU Softball Field
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Valpo 6
Baseball Youngstown State 12 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Valpo 4
W Tennis Valpo 1 Detroit, Mich.
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Detroit 6
M Soccer Benedictine Brown Field
Apr 12, 4:00 p.m. Valpo
W Soccer Haitian National Team Brown Field
Apr 12, 7:00 p.m. Valpo
M Golf Bluegrass Invitational Lexington, Ky. (University Club Big Blue Course)
Apr 13 t-6th/13 (895)
W Golf Crusader/Jaguar Challenge Valparaiso, Ind. (The Course at Aberdeen)
Apr 13 2nd/6 (657); 5th/6 (692)
Softball Cleveland State 6 8 inn.
Apr 13 Valpo 7
W Tennis Valpo 1 Rochester, Mich.
Apr 13 Oakland 6
M Tennis Valpo 1 Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 13 #12 Notre Dame 6
W Tennis Valpo 0 Chicago, Ill.
Apr 14 Chicago State 7
M Tennis Valpo 7 Homewood, Ill.
Apr 15 Chicago State 0
Baseball Valpo CCD
Apr 15 Toledo
M Track Cougar Invitational River Forest, Ill.
Apr 17 No Team Score
W Track Cougar Invitational River Forest, Ill.
Apr 17 No Team Score
Baseball Valpo 4 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 17 Milwaukee 0
M Tennis Youngstown State 1 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18 Valpo 6
Baseball Valpo 0 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 18 Milwaukee 3
Softball Oakland 3 VU Softball Field
Apr 18 Valpo 11
W Tennis Youngstown State 7 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18 Valpo 0
W Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 19 CCD
M Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19
W Tennis Cleveland State Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19, 10:00 a.m. Valpo
Softball Oakland VU Softball Field
Apr 19, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Valpo Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 19, 1:00 p.m. Milwaukee
Softball Oakland VU Softball Field
Apr 19, 2:00 p.m. Valpo
M Tennis Cleveland State Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19, 2:00 p.m. Valpo
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 20
Baseball Kalamazoo Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 21, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Ohio Northern Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 22, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22, 3:00 p.m. Western Illinois
Softball Valpo Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22, 5:00 p.m. Western Illinois
Softball Valpo Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 24, 5:00 p.m. Notre Dame
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 25 Horizon League Tournament
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 25, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 26, 3:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 2:00 p.m. Wright State
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 27, 2:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 27, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 27, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Western Michigan Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 29, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball IUPUI VU Softball Field
Apr 29, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball IUPUI VU Softball Field
Apr 29, 5:00 p.m. Valpo