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Play Video The Crusaders mob Horizon League Tournament MVP Karch Kowalczyk on the mound after the final out was recorded in Valpo's 3-0 win over Wright State Sunday.
The Crusaders mob Horizon League Tournament MVP Karch Kowalczyk on the mound after the final out was recorded in Valpo's 3-0 win over Wright State Sunday.
Freshman Dalton Lundeen is doused in water following Valpo's win in the Championship Game of the Horizon League Conference Tournament.
Freshman Dalton Lundeen is doused in water following Valpo's win in the Championship Game of the Horizon League Conference Tournament.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

On a day where a veteran-laden lineup clinched its second straight NCAA Tournament berth, it was a freshman that stole the spotlight.

Dalton Lundeen turned in one of the best starts of the year as the lefty sent one Wright State Raider after another to the dugout in frustration. Lundeen (5-1) allowed two hits over eight shutout innings before giving way to the Horizon League Relief Pitcher of the Year to nail down a 3-0 Horizon League Championship Game victory for Valpo at Eastwood Field in Niles, Ohio.

The Crusaders jumped on Wright State starter Casey Henn early, doing all their damage with two outs. Tanner Vavra reached with a single up the middle before John Loeffler was plunked in the leg. Chris Manning finished off a nine-pitch at-bat with a double to the right center gap that brought in Vavra and Loeffler. Shortstop Spencer Mahoney wasted no time extending the Valpo lead to 3-0 as he snuck an RBI triple inside the first base bag and down the right field line. 

"I liked how we got out to a lead for the third consecutive game. I think it took pressure off our pitchers this weekend," head coach Tracy Woodson said.

Facing a lineup of all right-handed batters, Lundeen didn't allow a hit until the fifth inning when Cody Gardner deposited a two-out single into left field. Gardner had both Raider hits on the afternoon.

Lundeen faced 27 batters and recorded 20 first-pitch strikes and 64 of his 91 pitches were for strikes. He punched out six and did not issue a walk. Wright State never had a runner past second base.

"Dalton was spectacular. I hope that is a sign for things to come in the future," Woodson said.

Henn (4-8) settled in after the turbulent first inning and retired 14 straight Crusaders at one point. Battling a back injury, the senior gutted out 5 2/3 innings pitched. He surrendered three runs on four hits, walking one and striking out four.

Karch Kowalczyk was named Horizon League Conference Tournament MVP but not before working a perfect ninth inning to notch his 12th save of the season. Kowalczyk got Garrett Gray swinging on an 0-2 slider that sent the Valpo bench onto the field and into a dogpile.

"Karch was Karch," Woodson said with a grin.

Lundeen, Kowalczyk, Manning, Mahoney and Andrew Bain were all named to the Horizon League All-Tournament Team. 

Kowalczyk collected a save in each Valpo win of the Tournament as his ERA shrunk to 0.35. 

The Crusaders (31-26) recorded runs in just six innings of the Horizon League Tournament, but they scored at least three runs in four of those frames.

Valpo will learn its destination for the NCAA Regionals Monday morning at 11:00am CT. 

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
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 19 CCD
M Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19 2nd/3 (191)
W Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19 3rd/5 (82)
W Tennis Cleveland State 7 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19 Valpo 0
Softball Oakland 1 VU Softball Field
Apr 19 Valpo 2
Baseball Valpo 0 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 19 Milwaukee 5
Softball Oakland 4 8 inn.
Apr 19 Valpo 2
M Tennis Cleveland State 5 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19 Valpo 2
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 20 12th/15 (314)
Baseball Kalamazoo 3 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 21 Valpo 10
Baseball Ohio Northern 2 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 22 Valpo 1
Softball Valpo 3 Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22 Western Illinois 1
Softball Valpo 5 Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22 Western Illinois 4
Softball Valpo Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 24, 5:00 p.m. #21/21 Notre Dame
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
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
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 25, 2:00 p.m. UIC
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
Baseball Chicago State Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 30, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Bloomington, Ind.
Apr 30, 3:00 p.m. Indiana (resumption of suspended game)
Softball Valpo Bloomington, Ind.
Apr 30, 4:00 p.m. Indiana
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 2
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 2
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 2, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 3
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 3
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 3, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 3, 1:00 p.m. Green Bay
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 3, 3:00 p.m. Green Bay
W Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 4
M Track Horizon League Outdoor Championships Youngstown, Ohio
May 4
Softball Valpo Green Bay, Wis.
May 4, 12:00 p.m. Green Bay
Baseball Oakland Emory G. Bauer Field
May 4, 12:00 p.m. Valpo