Valparaiso squandered a 3-1 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth inning, allowing Bradley to score four times and defeat the Crusaders 5-3 in Bradenton, Fla. on Sunday.
The Crusaders scored single runs in the third, fourth, and fifth to build a 3-0 lead. Kevin Perri (South Bend, Ind./Adams H.S.) singled home Jon Rupno (Green Bay, Wis./Pulaski H.S.) with the first run of the game and Michael Arensdorff (Park View, Iowa/North Scott H.S.) came across the plate on a wild pitch in the fourth. Josh Piazza (Niles, Ill./Notre Dame H.S.) also scored on a wild pitch after reaching on an error in the fifth.
Bradley (3-6) got on the scoreboard in the seventh as Ryan Eigsti doubled home a run. The Braves then added four in the eighth, three of which were unearned. Jason Newburger's two-run double broke a 3-3 tie to put the Braves in front and Peter Elmer came on to earn the save, pitching the ninth.
Matt Gillikin (Chesterton, Ind./Chesterton H.S.) started and went 6.2 innings for the Brown and Gold, allowing just one run and three hits. Dallas Cawiezell (Long Grove, Iowa/North Scott H.S.) suffered the loss in relief.
Valparaiso (2-6) will conclude its stay in Florida on Tuesday morning with a 9 a.m. CST game against Fairfield.