Spencer Mahoney (La Grange Park, Ill./Lyons Township) enjoyed another three-hit afternoon, but Milwaukee plated four runs in the final two innings en route to an 8-5 win over Valpo at Emory G. Bauer Field on Saturday.
Panther infielder Mitch Ghelfi broke a scoreless tie in the second with a solo home run to right off Valpo starter Mario Losi (Anaheim, Calif./Canyon). It stayed a 1-0 game until the fifth.
Milwaukee gave Joe Pavlovich a four-run cushion to work with following a three-run frame.
Losi issued a leadoff walk to catcher Daulton Varsho before surrendering back-to-back RBI doubles. Center fielder Luke Meeteer sent a first-pitch run-scoring single to center to make it 4-0.
Trevor Haas (Mount Prospect, Ill./Hersey) entered in relief of Losi after Meeteer's single. The junior kept the Crusaders in the game with three scoreless innings.
Valpo responded with a tally in the fifth to erase the zero in the run column. Josh Clark (Granada Hills, Calif./Hillcrest Christian [Riverside City]) was the beneficiary of a fielding error to open the frame. The Crusader left fielder advanced to second on a Ray Bartolomucci (Concord, Calif./De La Salle) screamer back up the box. Clark came in to score on a strange fielder's choice two batters later. Mahoney sliced a shallow pop-up into left that was dropped by Sam Koenig. Clark raced home but Bartolomucci was thrown out at second after the throw came towards the plate.
The Panthers added an insurance run in the eighth on a Nick Unes sacrifice fly before putting up another three-spot, this one in the ninth. Two of the three runs came on Koenig's 13th home run of the season.
The Brown and Gold assembled a rally in the ninth, but they were unable to cut the deficit to fewer than three runs. The frenzy began with a hit-by-pitch to Bartolomucci. Reliever Jake Tuttle retired Mark Johnson (Evanston, Ill./Evanston Township) on strikes for the first out, but the next four Crusaders reached base. Mahoney and Jeff Edwards (Massillon, Ohio/Jackson) both singled to keep the line moving. Bartolomucci touched home on Edwards' 21st RBI of the season. Nolan Lodden (West Des Moines, Iowa/West Des Moines Valley [Heartland CC]) worked a walk to load the bases before Daniel Delaney (Thousand Oaks, Calif./Thousand Oaks [Fresno State]) cracked a two-run double to center field.
Delaney's two-bagger made it an 8-4 ballgame as he and Lodden were both in scoring position with one out for Dustin Beasley (Round Rock, Texas/Stony Point [Cisco]). Beasley grounded a ball up the middle that Ghelfi gloved and fired to retire the Crusader designated hitter on a bang-bang play at first. Lodden scored on the play and caused UWM skipper Scott Doffek to beckon Gunnar Eastman to the mound.
Eastman earned his first save of the season thanks to a game-ending ground out off the bat of pinch-hitter Chad Jacob (Irvine, Calif./Woodbridge).
Pavlovich improved to 5-1 on the season by virtue of his six innings of earned-run free ball. He scattered four hits, struck out three and walked one.
Losi fell to 4-2. He yielded four runs in four innings. The righty issued four free passes and tallied two strikeouts.
Mahoney saw his batting average climb to .353 after his second consecutive 3-for-5 afternoon at the plate. He registered a double and a run scored.
Valpo (18-23, 13-9 Horizon) and Milwaukee (27-16, 11-11 Horizon) will conclude its series Sunday at Emory G. Bauer Field at 12:00 pm CT. Ryan Fritze (2-4, 4.27) will oppose Justin Langley (4-1, 2.82). WVUR (95.1 FM, Valparaiso) will carry the action live while live stats will also be available. Links to both are up at ValpoAthletics.com.