Clutch Hitting, Strong Pitching Propel Valpo To Twinbill Sweep of South Dakota State
Sunday, March 27, 2005
Valparaiso, Ind. - Valpo swept a doubleheader from South Dakota State in the Crusaders' home opener. Kevin Perri's RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning lifted Valpo to a 2-1 win over the Jackrabbits in the first game, and Eric Brauer and Nick Mazzone combined on a one hour-twenty-five minute 1-0 shutout in the nightcap.

Both games were scheduled for seven innings.

In the first game, Valpo (6-8) trailed 1-0 entering the 7th inning. After Jeff Rickert led off the frame with a walk and was sacrificed to second by Perri, Mike Arensdorff had an infield single, advancing Rickert to third. Kevin Kutansky followed with a sharp single through the left side of the infield to tie the game at 1-1.

Adam Knobel (1-1), who pitched 1 2/3 innings to earn the win, escaped a jam in the top of the eighth, recording a strikeout with a runner on second to end the Jackrabbits' threat.

Jon Rupno, who went 3-for-6 in the twinbill to raise his team-high batting average to .455, led off the eighth with a single and advanced to second when the SDSU catcher made a throwing error on Brian Rzepka's sacrifice bunt. After Josh Piazza's sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third, Rickert was intentionally walked to load the bases. Perri responded with a bloop single in front of the left fielder for the win.

Harvey Yergin, who pitched 6 solid innings and yielded one unearned run in the second, allowed just three hits and struck out two while walking none.

Josh Elliott hurled 7 innings for SDSU (3-17), allowing eight hits and one earned run, while fanning six and walking two. Dalton Decker (0-3) allowed Perri's game-winner in the eighth.

In the nightcap, Valpo scored the only run it needed in the second when Piazza's RBI single up the middle plated Matt Augustine, who led off the inning with a walk.

Brauer (3-1) pitched 6 strong innings, allowing just four hits, while striking out three and walking one. Mazzone earned his first save of the season by retiring three of the four batters in the top of the seventh.

Francisco Torres (0-4) went the distance for SDSU, fanning two and walking one.

Perri joined Rupno with three hits (in seven at bats) in the twinbill. Arensdorff, Kutansky, Colin Reynolds and Rupno each had two of Valpo's 10 hits in game one. Rickert had two of the Crusaders' six hits in the second game.

South Dakota State scored its run in the first game on a throwing error in the second inning.

Valpo travels to play at Indiana on Tuesday at 2 p.m. CT.