The NKU baseball team dropped two games of a three game series against Valparaiso this weekend. The Norse fall to 11-19 on the season and are now 6-3 in league play while the Crusaders improve to 12-17 and 3-6 in league play.
The Norse continue to hold third place in the Horizon League standings behind UIC and Wright State while the Crusaders jumped ahead of Youngstown State for the fourth spot in the Horizon League standings.
The Norse will play Miami Hamilton at home on Tuesday before an important weekend series with UIC in Chicago.
Game 1: Valparaiso 8 NKU 7
Jean-Francois Dionne struggled in this start, giving up five runs in the first inning. Dionne would take the loss for NKU, lasting just 3.2 innings and giving up 10 hits and seven runs, five of which were earned.
The Norse defense ended the day with four errors and allowed three unearned runs to score, which proved to be the difference in the ball game.
After being down 7-1 entering the fifth inning, the Norse began to chip away at the six run Crusader lead with a Jake Richmond homerun in the fifth. Trey Ganns singled in Will Haueter in the seventh inning to cut the lead to 7-3.
The Crusaders would score an unearned run in the bottom of the seventh to score their eighth run, but the Norse would make up that run after Richmond singled to score Kyle Colletta in the top of the eighth.
The Norse would make a run in the top of the ninth inning, when Dominic Mercurio singled to score Billy Marion and Haueter. Mike Moffatt followed with a single that scored Conor Ledger to cut the Crusader lead to 8-7. The rally would end there however.
The Norse collected 15 hits in the game while the Crusaders had 12 hits. Richmond went 3-6 on the day with two RBI while Mercurio went 2-4 with three RBI. Ganns and Haueter went both went 2-4.
Christian Barczi went 3-5 with two RBI for the Crusaders while Riley Dent went 3-4. Mario Losi earned the win for Valparaiso, going 6.0 innings and allowing seven hits and two runs while striking out two batters.
Game 2: Valparaiso 10 NKU 9
Once again, the Crusaders got out to a large lead in the first four innings, jumping on starting pitcher Trey Ganns for five runs in 2.2 innings. The Crusaders then scored two runs off Charlie Jerger and Cameron Ross to take a 9-1 lead entering the fifth inning.
Ganns would last just 2.2 innings and allow nine hits and five runs and would take the loss for the Norse.
The Norse would attempt another comeback, starting with a five run sixth inning that saw Colletta double to score Ganns and Haueter and Chad Roberts double to score Brad Bohlen and Colletta.
Valparaiso would score a run in the bottom of the sixth on one of three Norse errors to make the score 10-6
The Norse would strike again in the top of the eighth inning, when Roberts hit a two run homerun. TJ Alas followed with a homerun of his own to make the score 10-9. The Norse would fall short again, failing to score against closer Easton Rhodehouse in the ninth inning.
Alas went 2-5 with two homeruns for the Norse while Haueter went 2-5 with a run scored
Chad Jacob went 3-4 with two runs scored for the Crusaders while Jake Hansen went 3-5 with two RBI and two runs scored.
Game 3: Norse 18 Crusaders 7
Trey Ganns exploded in this game, hitting three homers and recording eight RBI including a grand slam in the third inning that scored Richmond, Haueter and Alas.
Alas had almost as impressive of a day as Ganns, going 4-6 with two homeruns, four runs scored and five RBI.
After Ganns homered in the first inning to make the score 2-0, the Crusaders followed with a three run bottom of the first to take a 3-2 lead.
The Ganns grand slam in the third and an Alas homer in the fourth gave the Norse a 8-3 lead.
The Norse would break the game open in the fifth inning thanks to a RBI singles from Colletta and Bohlen followed by a Richmond three run homerun that gave the Norse a 13-3 lead.
Ganns homered in the eighth inning and Alas homered again in the ninth to give the Norse an 18-6 lead. Valparaiso would score in the bottom of the ninth but it would not be enough to rally the Crusaders.