Valparaiso, Ind. -- Valparaiso went from being no-hit through four innings to scoring 13 straight runs to beat the Youngstown State baseball team 13-2 and capture its first outright Horizon League regular season title on Saturday afternoon.
Youngstown State led 2-0 with a run in the first and another in the third, and Penguins starter Patrick O'Brien did not allow a hit through the first four innings. The Crusaders, though, scored seven runs on six hits and a costly error in the fifth to go up 7-2. They added two runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings to clinch the top seed in next week's Horizon League Baseball Championship.
YSU will be the No. 6 seed in the tournament field and will play No. 3 Milwaukee on Wednesday at 5 p.m. Eastern in Chicago at UIC's Les Miller Field.
Marcus Heath finished with two hits, and Drew Dosch hit his team-leading eighth home run in the first inning that put the Guins up 1-0. Phil Lipari doubled in David Saluga, who singled, in the third to put YSU ahead 2-0.
O'Brien retired the first 11 batters he faced, and a hit batsman with two outs in the fourth accounted for Valpo's only base runner through four innings. John Loeffler singled through the right side to lead off the fifth for the Crusaders, and they went on to post five more hits and cross the plate seven times in the inning. Five of their runs scored after a two-out throwing error by Lipari at shortstop. After the error, Valpo hit back-to-back singles, scored on a wild pitch and got a two-run homer by Will Hagel.
Youngstown State went without a hit in the sixth through eighth innings, and Jeremy Banks' single to start the ninth accounted for its seventh in the contest. Spencer Mahoney led Valparaiso with three hits, and Valpo finished with 14 in the game, all of which came in its final 12 outs.
O'Brien was charged with two earned runs on six hits in five innings in his first conference start since April 5. Valpo starter Kyle Wormington allowed two runs on six hits in seven innings, and Will Robinson came on to throw two shutout innings in relief.