Valparaiso, Ind. – Valparaiso scored seven straight runs in the fifth through seventh innings and held off Youngstown State in a 10-8 victory on Saturday afternoon at Emory G. Bauer Field.
Three different Penguins had a pair of RBIs, and Shane Willoughby had a team-high two hits and scored twice. Valparaiso had 16 hits, seven more than the Penguins, and also reached eight times on walks.
The Crusaders scored twice in the first on an RBI triple by Nate Palace and an RBI double by Daniel Delaney, and they took a 3-0 advantage when Delaney walked with the bases loaded in the second inning.
Youngstown State took the lead with four runs on three hits, two errors and a walk in the third inning. Kevin Hix drew a leadoff walk, and Frank Califano and Jason Shirley reached on back-to-back errors by Valpo third baseman Shea Molitor to load the bases with no outs. Ryan Fritze struck out the next two Penguins, but Willoughby and Jonny Miller followed with back-to-back two-run singles to put YSU ahead 4-3. The Penguins took a 5-3 lead when Kevin Hix doubled and scored on Shirley's sacrifice fly in the fourth.
Valparaiso charged back with three unearned runs in the fifth, and the Crusaders added four more in the seventh to go up 10-5.
YSU cut into the lead in the bottom of the seventh when Alex Core drew a bases-loaded walk and Josh Fitch doubled in a pair of runs to make the score 10-8. The Penguins stranded two runners in the seventh and another in the ninth.
Neither starting pitcher factored in the decision. Jared Wight relieved YSU starter D.J. Carr with two outs in the second, and Wight ended up with the loss despite not allowing an earned run. Valpo's Fritze left with two outs in the third, and Connor Kaucic came on to hold YSU to a run in 3.1 innings to earn his first win.
Youngstown State will try to salvage the finale of the series on Sunday at 1 p.m. Eastern.