Valparaiso scored three unearned runs in the fifth inning and scored twice in the bottom of the eighth once Youngstown State cut the margin to one in a 7-4 victory over the Penguins on Friday afternoon at Emory G. Bauer Field.
Valparaiso starter Chris DeBoo retired the first nine Penguins he faced, but Mike Accardi got the YSU offense going to start the fourth. He singled to center on a 2-2 pitch, and Neil Schroth followed with an infield single. Drew Dosch then reached on a bunt single that catcher Billy Cribbs threw wide to first on, which allowed Accardi to score from second. Nick DiNello then singled in Schroth to give the Penguins a 2-0 lead.
The Crusaders cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the fourth when Andrew Bynum led off with a double, went to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on Cribbs' ground out. Valparaiso then scored three unearned runs in the fifth to go up 4-2. Spencer Mahoney reached on a three-base error by left-fielder David Saluga to start the inning, and Tanner Vavra followed with an RBI single. YSU starter Blake Aquadro allowed the go-ahead run to score on a two-out balk, and the third run of the inning scored on Kyle Schneider's single.
The Crusaders got another two-out run in the seventh to go up 5-2 when Cribbs doubled down the left field line and scored one batter later on Andy Burns' single.
The Penguins got within one in the top of the eighth when it scored two runs on four hits. Jason Shirley led off with a pinch-hit double, and he scored two batters later when Schroth singled. DiNello and Phil Lipari hit back-to-back two out singles to plate Schroth. Valparaiso closer Karch Kowalczyk came in and retired Marcus Heath with runners on first and second, and the Penguins went down in order in the ninth.
Valpo got both of its runs in the eighth with two outs. Tanner Vavra came in on a wild pitch from Nic Manuppelli, and Chris Manning singled, went to second on an error and scored on Bryce Hara's single.
Aquadro allowed four runs, just one earned, on eight hits in five innings and left with a 4-2 deficit. Alex Frey was charged with two runs, and the final run went on Manuppelli's record. DeBoo allowed all four runs on eight hits in 7.2 innings.
The Penguins and Crusaders will wrap up their series and the regular season on Saturday at 2 p.m.