Valparaiso swept a doubleheader from Robert Morris (Ill.) on a cold, breezy Thursday afternoon at Emory G. Bauer Field to remain undefeated at home on the season, downing the Eagles 6-0 and 3-2, with the second game going nine innings.
The Crusaders jumped in front in the third inning of game one. Jeff Rickert (Hamilton, Ohio/Hamilton H.S.) singled and advanced to second on an error then came around to score on Michael Arensdorff's (Eldridge, Iowa/North Scott H.S.) single.
Valpo plated four more runs in the fifth, batting around the order. Josh Piazza (Glenview, Ill./Notre Dame H.S.) led off the inning with a double and scored on a throwing error. Rickert's single drove home another run, and two more runs came across the plate following an error on the Robert Morris second basemen. Arensdorff drove home the Crusaders' final run in the sixth with a base hit.
Harvey Yergin (Akron, Ohio/Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy) went the distance for the shutout, allowing just three singles in the seven innings. The senior did not walk a batter while striking out three to earn the victory (1-4).
The nightcap saw Valpo jump in front with two in the opening inning. Three straight singles to lead off the game, the final by Zach Rodeghero (New Lenox, Ill./Providence Catholic H.S.), scored Rickert and Arensdorff.
Robert Morris (11-16) cut the Crusader lead in half in the third with a bases loaded walk. An error by Valpo with two outs in the seventh tied the game, forcing extra innings.
In the bottom of the ninth, Arensdorff led off the inning being hit by a pitch and advanced to second on a wild pitch. After a sacrifice bunt and two intentional walks, Joe Lazar (Traverse City, Mich./Central H.S.) drew an unintentional pass to bring home the winning run.
Rickert had three hits in each game for the Crusaders to lead the way offensively while Arensdorff had two more hits in game two to extend his hitting streak to 12 straight.
Jay Clites (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer H.S.) earned the win (2-0), pitching 2.1 innings of perfect relief.
Valparaiso (7-15) will head to Carbondale, Ill. for single games against Southern Illinois this weekend, beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday.