Valparaiso used a pair of big second innings and strong pitching to sweep a Horizon League doubleheader from the Youngstown State baseball team on Friday at Eastwood Field.
The Crusaders scored nine of their 11 runs in the doubleheader in the second innings, and all nine of those second-inning runs came with two outs. Valparaiso won the opener 6-2 and the nightcap 5-3.
Phil Lipari led the Penguins offensively with five hits in the doubleheader.
In game one, Valparaiso scored five runs on three consecutive two-out hits in the second inning that gave it a 6-0 lead, and Youngstown State couldn't muster enough offense to catch up in a 6-2 loss.
The Crusaders scored an unearned run in the first when Chris Manning singled in Bryce Hara, and they scored five two-out runs in the second inning to go up 6-0. Karch Kowalczyk and Andrew Bynam singled to start the inning and moved up a base on Andy Burns' sacrifice bunt. YSU starter Ryan Krokos got a big out when Kowalczyk was thrown out at home on Jake Hanson's grounder, but the pitcher walked the No. 9 hitter to loaded the bases with two outs. Spencer Mahoney singled in the first two runs, and Hara singled in Johnson and moved up a base on the throw home to leave two runners in scoring position. Manning then delivered his second of four hits in the game to plate two more runs and put Valpo up 6-0.
The Penguins did all of their scoring in the second inning off Cole Webb. YSU loaded the bases before recording an out when David Saluga reached on an error, Lorenzo Arcuri walked and Josh White singled. Kevin Hix brought in Saluga with a single to right, and Phil Lipari drew a walk two batters later to plate Arcuri. Webb got out of the inning by getting Alex Larivee to ground into a 6-4-3 double play.
Valparaiso managed just four hits after the second inning, but the Penguins' offense couldn't string enough hits together to cut into the lead. YSU had two hits in the fourth and ninth innings and also stranded two runners in the seventh inning. Youngstown State left 10 runners on base in the game.
Krokos allowed five earned runs on 10 hits and a walk in five innings for YSU. Ryan Smith and Jared Wight both pitched two shutout innings of relief for the Penguins. Webb was charged with one earned run on five hits in six innings, and Mario Losi pitched the final three innings to earn his first save.
White and Lipari both had two hits to lead YSU. In addition to Manning's four hits, the Crusaders got two-hit efforts from Mahoney and Kowalczyk.
The Crusaders batted around again in the second inning in game two to go up 4-0 on the Penguins. And, like in game one, all four of the runs came with two outs. Michael Morman led off with an infield single, and Kowalczyk followed with a walk. Patrick O'Brien got Andrew Bynum to foul out and struck out Ray Bartolomucci, but he surrendered four straight two out singles.
The Penguins cut a chunk out of Valpo's lead with three runs in the bottom of the third. Jake Fryman reached on an error to start the inning, and he came in on back-to-back singles by Shane Willoughby and Lipari. Lipari moved up on Jason Shirley's bunt, and White plated two runs on a single to center.
Valpo got a run back in the fifth when Manning reached on an error and scored on Kowalczyk's two-out single.
Game two starter Dalton Lundeen allowed three runs, two of which were earned, on seven hits while striking out six to earn his fourth win. Kowalczyk allowed a one-out single in the ninth before locking down his ninth save. O'Brien was charged with four earned runs on eight hits in five innings. Anthony Konders, Alex Frey and Josh North did not allow a run in four combined innings of relief.
The Penguins and Crusaders will their regular-season finale on Saturday at 2 p.m. Eastwood Field. YSU's 10 seniors will be recognized prior to the game.