to first place in the Horizon League on Sunday afternoon as the Crusaders won
both games of a doubleheader against Cleveland State at Emory G. Bauer Field to
complete a five-game season sweep of the Vikings. The Crusaders won the opener 5-1 before
taking the nightcap 2-1.
“Playing at home it
was important for us to come out and take care of business today,” head coach Tracy Woodson said. “We got the job done and picked up two
The Crusaders jumped
on top in the opening inning of game one to set the tone in the seven-inning
contest. Kyle Gaedele (Arlington Heights, Ill./Rolling Meadows H.S.) reached
on an error to lead off the game and promptly stole second.
With one out, Chris Manning (Lake Forest, Calif./El Toro H.S.) delivered a single
into left-center to put the Brown and Gold on the scoreboard.
In the second Michael Morman (Rockford, Ill./Boylan
Catholic H.S.) added to the lead with his first home run as a Crusader, a
two-run blast to leftfield.
“That homer was big
because it gave us a lead of more than one run,” Woodson said. “You always like to have a little cushion.”
Valpo continued to
add to its lead in the fifth. Gaedele
led off with a double and moved to third on a wild pitch as Steven Scoby (Delton, Mich./Delton
Kellogg H.S.) walked.
a sacrifice fly to plate Gaedele with the game’s fourth run. After a walk moved Scoby to second, Ryan O’Gara (Buffalo Grove,
Ill./Buffalo Grove H.S.) came through with a two-out single to increase the
lead to 5-0.
Starter Jon Gulbransen (Appleton, Wis./Fox
Valley Lutheran H.S.) cruised through the first five innings on the hill,
allowing just two hits. He ran into his
only speed bump in the sixth, allowing a lead-off single to John Calhoun. After a wild pitch advanced him 90 feet, Alex
Johnson put the Vikings on the scoreboard with a double to right-center. Two walks later the bases were loaded with
the tying run at the plate, but Gulbransen induced a pop up from Matt Kirkwood
to retire the side.
the complete game allowing just one base runner in the seventh to earn the win
(5-5). He allowed just four hits while
walking four and striking out seven. The
senior passed Bryce Shafer (2008-2010) for fourth on Valpo’s career strikeout
list, as he has increased his total to 252, just one shy of third all-time.
O’Gara and Will Hagel (Arlington Heights,
Ill./Prospect H.S.) each had two hits as part of an eight-hit attack by the
Crusaders, all off of starter Nate Blankemeyer who suffered the loss (0-3),
allowing the five runs, four of which were earned, in 4.2 innings of work.
In the night cap it
was Cleveland State that struck first.
Jason Haditsch singled with one out in the third inning and moved to
third on a double by Calhoun. Anthony
Sambula delivered a sacrifice fly, giving the Vikings a 1-0 lead.
Viking starter Nate
Dick allowed just three Valpo hits through the first five innings, keeping the
Crusaders off of the scoreboard. In the
sixth, the Brown and Gold finally broke through. Gaedele led off with a single and Scoby beat
out a bunt to put two men aboard.
Manning moved both runners up with a sacrifice bunt before Hagel tied
the game at one with a one-out single through the drawn in infield. With two outs, Bobby Martin (Crystal Lake, Ill./Prairie Ridge H.S.) put Valpo on top
with a single to right-center, scoring Scoby.
“We had a bit of a letdown
to start game two,” Woodson said. “Their
kid was pitching well, but we managed to scratch out the two runs with a bit of
Those would be the
only two runs Tyler Deetjen (Saint
Charles, Ill./East H.S.) would need. He
went the distance for the fourth time this season, scattering just seven hits,
including just two singles over the final five innings to earn the win
(4-6). He threw just 88 pitches over the
nine innings, striking out five while not walking any Vikings.
to get stronger as the game went along,” Woodson added. “We made some big plays defensively to back
both of our starters today.”
Dick suffered the
loss (1-4) for Cleveland State (9-32, 2-16 Horizon), allowing the two runs and
seven hits in six innings of work.
three-for-four in game two to pace the Crusaders eight-hit effort in the night
12-4) moved back into first place in the Horizon League by one-half game over Wright
State as the Raiders split a twinbill at Butler on Sunday. The Crusaders and Raiders will play a big
three-game series in Dayton, Ohio next Saturday and Sunday with the top spot in
the conference on the line.
The Crusaders will
return to the diamond on Tuesday afternoon heading to DeKalb, Ill. for a
non-conference tilt with Northern Illinois.
First pitch is set for 3 p.m.