Niles, Ohio -- Valparaiso hit two three-run home runs and held off a late Youngstown State rally to defeat the Penguins 7-4 on Friday afternoon at Eastwood Field. Saturday’s game, which will be the second of three in the series, will be pushed up an hour to a noon start due to rain later in the forecast.
After the second home run gave the Crusaders a 7-1 lead in the top of the sixth, YSU scored twice in the sixth and once in the seventh to get within three runs. The Penguins then had the tying run at the plate in the eighth and loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.
Four different Penguins had two hits, and YSU outhit Valparaiso 12-10. Craig Goubeaux drove in two runs, and Drew Dosch had two hits and scored twice. Jeremy Banks went 1-for-4 in his first action since March 18.
YSU starter Russ Harless allowed four runs on three hits in the first inning, including a three-run round-tripper to first baseman John Loeffler. But the freshman right-hander allowed only two hits over the next four innings to keep the Penguins in the game.
YSU got on the board in the fourth inning when Dosch hit a leadoff single and scored on Goubeaux’s two-out single to make the score 4-1.
Harless allowed back-to-back one-out singles to Chris Manning and Spencer Mahoney in the sixth, and Billy Cribbs followed with a three-run homer to left to put the Crusaders up 7-1. The Penguins battled to score twice in the bottom half of the inning to stay within striking distance. Jason Shirley singled in Dosch with one out and scored after two errors. Dosch then brought in Phil Lipari with a sacrifice fly in the seventh for the final tally.
YSU had two two-out singles in a scoreless eighth, and Valpo closer Jarad Miller was able to escape a messy ninth to earn his third save. David Leon and Dan Hurlimann led off with back-to-back singles, but Miller was able to win an eight-pitch battle with Dosch with a strikeout. Kevin Hix grounded out to Miller for the second out, and the closer followed a walk by getting Goubeaux to fly out to end the game.
YSU was 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position and stranded nine runners.
Harless allowed six earned runs on 10 hits in 7 2-3 innings. He did not walk or strike out a batter. Valpo starter Tyler Deetjen allowed three earned runs on 10 hits in 7 2-3 innings to earn his second win.