Valparaiso used a seven-run fourth inning to defeat the Youngstown State baseball team 9-1 on Saturday afternoon at Eastwood Field.
It was the regular-season finale for both teams, but based on their finish in the Horizon League standings, the two teams will meet again in the first round of next week’s conference tournament.
The Crusaders (23-26, 12-12) finished the regular season with a .500 conference record and enter the tournament as the third seed. The Penguins (12-36, 6-17) will be the sixth seed.
Their first round game is scheduled for Wednesday at 4 p.m. at Kapco Park in Mequon, Wis.
Saturday’s game was delayed by one hour and seven minutes. There was another 38-minute delay in the top of the second inning. The rain, along with next week’s tournament schedule, lowered YSU starter Jeremy Quinlan’s pitch count limit.
The Crusaders took advantage and scored eight runs off the Penguins’ bullpen.
YSU took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Phil Lipari led off with a double to right center and scored on Brent Gillespie’s one-out single.
Quinlan worked around a one-out single in a scoreless first, and the leadoff batter reached on an error to start the second inning. Quinlan got the next two batters to fly out before the skies opened with hard rain and hail. After the second delay, Jake Hanson flew out to end the inning.
Mark Johnson drew a walk off Quinlan to start the third and he advanced to second on Spencer Mahoney’s soft ground out. Bryce Hara followed with an RBI single that tied the game at 1-1. Valparaiso then blew the game open with seven two-out runs in the fourth inning off Robert Switka.
Gillespie finished 2-for-2 with a walk and Shane Willoughby added two hits for the Penguins.