Niles, Ohio -- Valparaiso scored a go-ahead run in the seventh inning and got a big insurance run in the ninth to defeat the Youngstown State baseball team 5-4 in the finale of a three-game series on Sunday at Eastwood Field.
David Leon was 2-for-4 with two RBIs, and Marcus Heath added two base hits for the Penguins. Tanner Vavra was 2-for-4 with two RBIs and drove in the go-ahead run in the seventh. All five of the Crusaders' runs came with two outs, and they bunted nine times in the game.
YSU starter Blake Aquadro pitched 6 1-3 strong innings and left with the game tied at three. Kyle Wormington had even better results for Valpo, allowing three runs on six hits in eight innings. He retired the final 12 batters he faced before handing the ball off to closer Jarad Miller in the ninth.
John Loeffler doubled, went to third on a bunt single and scored on a double play to put Valpo on the board in the top of the second. Leon singled in Dan Hurlimann, who reached on an error to start the inning, to allow YSU to tie the contest in the bottom of the second. The Penguins went up 2-1 in the third when Jeremy Banks doubled in Jason Shirley with two outs.
The Crusaders scored twice in the top of the fifth to go up 3-2, and they never trailed again. A single, an error and a sacrifice bunt put runners on second and third with one out, and Spencer Mahoney scored when Andrew Bain's grounder to second was hit just enough to the side of Phil Lipari that he couldn't throw home for a play at the plate. Vavra then brought in Bobby Martin with a bunt single for the second unearned run of the inning. Mahoney's leadoff single up the middle was the only ball that left the infield in the inning.
Marcus Heath led off the bottom of the fifth with a towering triple off the wall in left, but that was the final hit that Wormington allowed. Heath scored the tying run one batter later when Shirley grounded out to second.
Aquadro hit Martin to start the seventh inning, and Billy Cribbs sacrificed him to second with one out. Kevin McCulloh came in and retired Bain at the top of the order, but Vavra came through with a single to left that brought in Martin to put Valpo up 4-3. McCulloh allowed a leadoff double to Cribbs to start the ninth, and the Valpo catcher came in to score on Elliott Manning's two-out single to right off Pat Shedlock.
Craig Goubeaux led off the bottom of the ninth with a double to left for YSU, but that was the Guins' only hit of the inning. He scored on back-to-back ground outs to the second baseman, and Drew Dosch struck out after David Saluga's walk to end the game.
Youngstown State will conclude its four-game home stand against Ohio on Tuesday at 3 p.m.