March 26, 2017123456789RHE
Win: ANDERSEN (1-1) 6.061110
Loss: Mommersteeg (0-1) 2.132242
Barczi (VALPO) 503000
CRONIN (UIC) 522201
OTA (UIC) 312020
MYERS (UIC) 412000
Crusaders Can’t Capture Rubber Match in Chicago
Sunday, March 26, 2017
Crusaders Can’t Capture Rubber Match in Chicago
Sam Shaikin has started all 21 games at third base this season.

The Valparaiso University baseball team dropped the rubber match of a three-game weekend series at Granderson Stadium 8-1 to UIC on Sunday afternoon. The Flames jumped in front with two runs in the first inning and later pulled away on a pair of late two-run home runs.

How It Happened

  • The Flames (13-7, 5-1 Horizon) got on the board first as Rob Calabrese clubbed a two-run double to the gap in left in the first inning. David Cronin and Thomas Norton both scampered home to give the Flames a 2-0 lead. They had a chance for more with runners at second and third and one away, but Valpo starter Michael Mommersteeg (St. Thomas, Ont., Canada / St. Joseph’s) notched a timely strikeout followed by a ground ball to short.
  • The Crusaders (8-13, 1-5 Horizon) threatened in the second with runners at first and second and nobody out, but Scott Kapers (Schererville, Ind. / Mount Carmel)  hit a sharp ground ball to second for a 4-3 double play, then Patrick Donohue (Arlington Heights, Ill. / Prospect) lined to left to end the threat.
  • An incredible diving stop by UIC third baseman Thomas Norton on a one-hop smash by Nate Palace (Westlake Village, Calif. / Oaks Christian) took a base hit away from the Valpo senior, costing the Crusaders a run in the third. Chad Jacob (Irvine, Calif. / Woodbridge) was left stranded at second after ripping a single up the middle and advancing to second on a passed ball.
  • Junior Alex Dirienzo (Somerset, Pa. / Somerset [Akron]) came on in relief of Mommersteeg with two on and one away in the third. He walked the first man he faced, but then induced a sharp ground ball to Palace at first that turned into a 3-2-3 inning-ending twin killing.
  • A bloop single, sacrifice bunt and single to right by Cody Bohanek allowed the Flames to produce a run in the fourth, making it 3-0 UIC.
  • The Flames boosted the lead to four in the fifth, when they added a run against Ellis Foreman (Round Rock, Texas / Stony Point) on a 6-5 fielder’s choice bouncer by Ricardo Ramirez that plated Scott Ota, who had walked to start the inning.
  • The Crusaders got on the board for the first time in the seventh on a sharp single through the right side by Chad Jacob (Irvine, Calif. / Woodbridge) that plated Kapers. The Crusaders had a chance for more, but stranded men at first and third and trailed 4-1.
  • Luke VanLanen (Pulaski, Wis. / Pulaski) came in to work the bottom of the seventh. He retired the first batter he faced, but then allowed a single to Calabrese followed by a pitch that Ramirez deposited into the left-field bullpen for a two-run homer to make it 6-1 UIC.
  • Cronin blasted a tape measure two-run homer to right against Valpo freshman Garrett Hill (San Marino, Calif. / Chatsworth) in the eighth, expanding UIC’s lead to 8-1.
  • The Crusaders loaded the bases in the top of the ninth, but failed to score.

Inside the Game

  • The first-inning runs were the first earned tallies allowed by Mommersteeg all season. The freshman southpaw had heaved 14 1/3 scoreless frames before making his first career weekend start on Sunday.
  • Mommersteeg left after 2 1/3 innings. He was charged with two runs (two earned) on three hits while issuing four walks and striking out two. He was hit with the defeat, his first decision of the year.
  • Freshman Christian Barczi (Naperville, Ill. / Naperville North) has played in just six games in a Valpo uniform and has multiple hits in two of them. An infield single in the eighth capped his first career three-hit performance.
  • Jacob, playing in only his 10th game after missing time with a wrist injury, picked up his 10th RBI of the year. He had his fifth multi-hit game of the season.
  • Grant Inman (Fort Wayne, Ind. / Carroll) was the only Crusader to work an easy inning, sending down the Flames in order in the sixth.
  • UIC’s Andersen (1-1) picked up the win with six-plus innings of one-run, six-hit ball.

Next Up

The Crusaders return to the diamond on Wednesday in West Lafayette, Ind. as they lock horns with Purdue. The first pitch is slated for 5 p.m. CT. Links to live video, audio and stats will be available on