Michael Mommersteeg may have been making his first collegiate start, but the freshman southpaw looked like a seasoned veteran on Tuesday afternoon at First Data Field, the Spring Training home of the New York Mets. The Crusaders posted a three-run ninth inning to snap a scoreless tie and held on to beat Pennsylvania 3-0 in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
How It Happened
- Giovanni Garbella ripped a two-out double in the first, but was left stranded at second base. The Crusaders also had a runner on base in the second and a man in scoring position in the third, but Penn starter Mike Reitcheck didn’t allow any damage.
- Reitcheck dominated the middle part of the game, at one point sending down 16 of 17.
- Not to be outdone, Mommersteeg turned in a masterful outing. He faced the minimum in the fourth and fifth innings, then retired the first two batters of the sixth. Back-to-back singles created Penn’s best scoring chance of the day, but Mommersteeg induced a fly ball to left that ended the frame.
- Mommersteeg’s day came to a close after six innings, and Valpo head coach Brian Schmack called upon Easton Rhodehouse to pitch the seventh. Rhodehouse walked the leadoff man, but bounced back to get the final three hitters in order.
- The Crusaders snapped Reitchek’s rhythm in the eighth inning, as Dawson and Stea stroked consecutive singles to cause the Quakers to go to the bullpen. Facing reliever Jake Nelson, Nate Palace grounded out to end the inning.
- Rhodehouse came back out for his second inning of work in the bottom of the eighth, but left with the bases loaded and two outs after allowing two walks and a hit batter. Ellis Foreman came in and induced a ground ball to short, the biggest out of the day.
- The Crusaders made a winner out of Foreman in the top of the ninth, when they broke through for three runs. Garbella and Jake Hanson had base hits to start the frame, then Jayden Eggimann clubbed a one-out double that drove in a pair. Eggimann eventually came in to score as Scott Kapers reached on an error.
- Jon Tieman mowed down the Quakers in order in the bottom of the ninth to preserve the 3-0 win.
Inside the Game
- Valpo stands at 5-5 on the season, its first time at .500 or better through 10 games since 1999, when Paul Twenge’s squad also began the year 5-5.
- Tieman nailed down his fourth save of the season, joining a group of 18 pitchers in the nation with four saves or more already this year. He leads the Horizon League in that category. Just 10 games into the season, Tieman is already over half way to Ryan Fritze’s team-leading seven saves from a year ago. Half of Valpo’s games have featured save chances this year, with Tieman going 4-of-5.
- This is Valpo’s first shutout victory of the season. In fact, the Crusaders haven’t had a shutout win this early in a season since 2009.
- Foreman’s win was his first of the year. The Valpo bullpen has earned the win in three of the team’s five triumphs.
- Mommersteeg did not allow a walk and struck out four while scattering five hits over six scoreless frames.
- Nelson took the defeat for Penn, allowing three runs on three hits in 1 1/3 innings. Reitcheck went 7 2/3 and scattered six hits while allowing no walks and striking out five.
- Garbella went 2-for-4, his second multi-hit game of the season. He now has hits in six straight.
- Dawson also had two hits, his fourth multi-hit game of the year.
- Eggimann chipped in two hits as well, his first multi-hit game in a Valpo uniform.
The Crusaders and Quakers will go at it again on Wednesday at 2 p.m. CT in Port St. Lucie, Fla. The game will be played on one of the Mets’ minor league spring training fields. A link to live stats will be available on ValpoAthletics.com.