McNeese State scored
seven times in the first two innings on Saturday afternoon and Valparaiso
could not rally from the deficit as the Crusaders fell 8-2 to the Cowboys at
Cowboy Diamond in Lake Charles,
Valley Lutheran H.S.) pitched six solid innings in relief of Austen Siwiec (Aurora, Ill./Marmion
Academy), allowing just one run and five hits without walking a hitter. The southpaw fanned 10, but the Crusader bats
could not recover.
“Gulbransen was outstanding
in relief,” head coach Tracy Woodson
said. “He was just phenomenal. Siwiec struggled a little bit today.”
The Cowboys struck for three
in the opening inning on just two hits, and took advantage of a Crusader error
and two walks. In the second McNeese State added four more in the second on
six more hits. A solo homer by Blake
Ellender stared the scoring and the Cowboys added five more singles, two stolen
bases, and took advantage of a wild pitch in the inning.
Valpo finally broke through
against starter and winning pitcher Tyler Davis (1-0) in the third as Ryan O’Gara (Buffalo Grove, Ill./Buffalo
Grove H.S.) doubled home Kyle Gaedele
(Arlington Heights, Ill./Rolling Meadows H.S.) for his third extra base hit and
third RBI of the young campaign.
McNeese State added a run in the fifth on a double by Andy Riche,
the only other scoring until the ninth.
East H.S.) had a pinch hit single in the final frame and advance to second on a
wild pitch and third on a passed ball. Paul Heinkel (Fond du Lac, Wis./Winnebago Lutheran Academy)
came through with a single to centerfield to cap the scoring.
“We didn’t quit today,”
Woodson added. “We had several
opportunities in the game where we got guys on, but just couldn’t get them
in. We got too far behind.”
Davis limited Valpo to just
two hits and the one run in five innings of work on the mound for the hosts,
striking out five and the Cowboy bullpen allowed just four hits the rest of the
way while striking out six more Valpo hitters.
Siwiec suffered the loss
(0-1), going just two innings and allowing eight hits and seven runs, six of
which were earned.
Valparaiso (0-2) and McNeese
State (2-0) will wrap up
the three-game weekend series on Sunday morning with an 11 a.m. contest at
Cowboy Field. Will Robinson (Placentia,
Calif./Valencia H.S.) will toe the rubber for
the Crusaders against Jonathan Conrad.