The Valparaiso University baseball team has played the last four games without its most established hitter with first baseman Nate Palace sidelined by an illness, but Giovanni Garbella (San Diego, Calif. / Cathedral Catholic) has helped make sure the offense hasn’t skipped a beat.
Garbella has hit .471 with three home runs and five RBIs since regaining his spot in the starting lineup because of the vacancy created by Palace’s absence. The junior right fielder turned in a true Palace-like performance on Tuesday, delivering two home runs in a 10-3 victory over Chicago State after Palace had hit two long balls against the Cougars (8-25) earlier this season.
How It Happened
- The Crusaders (14-20) played from behind as Julian Russell delivered a solo homer against Valpo starting pitcher Michael Mommersteeg (St. Thomas, Ont., Canada / St. Joseph’s) in the third to start the scoring.
- Valpo responded in the bottom of the inning, as Jake Hanson (Yorkville, Ill. / Aurora Christian) skipped one over the left-field wall for a ground-rule double to drive in a pair. Later in the inning, Sam Shaikin (West Hills, Calif. / Chatsworth) ripped a ground-rule double of his own, then eventually scored on a passed ball. Garbella drilled his first long ball of the game to cap a six-run frame.
- The Cougars picked up an unearned run in the fifth, but the Crusaders got that back and more on one swing from Garbella in the bottom of the inning. A two-run blow with Shaikin, who had tripled, along for the ride made it 8-2 Valpo.
- The fourth home run of the game and the second by the Cougars came to lead off the sixth as Rick Salazar provided a solo shot to left.
- In the bottom of the sixth, Chad Jacob (Irvine, Calif. / Woodbridge) drew a walk, then Hanson stroked a single to right. The ball got by the right fielder for an error that allowed Jacob to score and Hanson to get all the way to third, then the right fielder made a wild throw to third, his second error on the play, to allow Hanson to score and make it 10-3.
- Mommersteeg departed after six strong, then the Valpo bullpen did the rest. Montana Quigley (Lake Forest, Calif. / El Toro) heaved two shutout innings, followed by a scoreless ninth from Hayden Kissee (Indianapolis, Ind. / Greenfield Central [Kaskasia College]).
Inside The Game
- Mommerseeg (1-1) earned his first collegiate victory after allowing three runs (two earned) on two hits and three walks in six innings. The only hits he allowed were solo homers.
- Josh Perkins absorbed the defeat and saw his record dive to 0-6. He allowed six runs on five hits in three frames.
- Hanson posted his second three-hit day of the year, going 3-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBIs. He’s got multiple hits in three straight games and five of his last seven.
- Shaikin has reached base in 18 straight games – he went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored on Tuesday. He moved into the team lead with 12 multi-hit games.
- The Crusaders have won 21 straight head-to-head meetings with Chicago State.
- Valpo improved to 2-14 when opponents score first this season.
The Crusaders will hit the road to clash with Northern Kentucky in Highland Heights for a doubleheader on Friday beginning at noon CT. A radio broadcast will be available courtesy of Northern Kentucky Athletics. Links to live audio and stats will be available on ValpoAthletics.com.