Valley losing streak ends at Hannibal-LaGrange

Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Senior Zach Walden knocked in a run with a single as the Vikings broke a 16-game losing streak with a 4-3 decision over Hannibal-LaGrange. (Chris Allen/Democrat-News)

The Missouri Valley College baseball team picked up its first win in over two weeks Tuesday at Hannibal-LaGrange, but not until its losing streak reached 16 games -- including four Heart of America Conference East Division games at Evangel over the weekend.

Two of the Vikings' losses in Springfield were one-run heartbreakers. After dropping Friday's 15-2 opener -- in which the Crusaders enjoyed a 12-run fifth inning and got four-RBI performances from sophomores Clemente Garza, Jacob Garrison and Christian Maciel -- Valley suffered a 1-0 loss in the nightcap.

Junior Brandon Cooper tossed his best game of the season for the Vikings, scattering eight hits over six-plus innings, but junior Matt Myers fired a four-hitter for Evangel -- which got a walk-off 1-0 win when sophomore Nathan Jones delivered a two-out, bases-loaded single in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Saturday's 7-6 loss in the early game may have been even a greater disappointment for Valley, which took a one-run lead into the bottom of the seventh. Senior Westin Loftin, who had all three of the Vikings' victories in the mound this season, led 4-2 before EU scored three times in the sixth.

Valley tallied two runs in the top of the seventh, but Garza cracked a two-out homer with one out to give the Crusaders the sudden victory. Evangel (22-15, 11-5 HAAC) followed that up with a 7-1 decision behind sophomore Josh Engler's five-hitter for its eighth straight win.

Hannibal-LaGrange (16-23) broke a 1-1 tie with six runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, two scoring on junior Ian Sikes single, for a 7-3 win over the Vikings in the first game.

Valley had to come from behind in the nightcap, but got three runs in the fifth and over three innings of shutout relief from Cooper, to claim a 4-3 victory. Freshmen Corey Marcks and Josh Felz each had two hits and scored a run and seniors Troy Langan, Deante Bernstine and Zach Walden drove in runs for the Vikings (4-31-1).

Valley will be at home this weekend for four HAAC East contests against Central Methodist.

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