The Valparaiso University baseball team set the tone with a seven-run first-inning explosion, and that was only the beginning on a windy Wednesday at Emory G. Bauer Field. With temperatures in the 60s for the first time since the team returned to the Midwest, the Valpo offense took full advantage of a hitters’ day by dispatching visiting Milwaukee 23-5. The Crusaders produced their highest run total in eight years with Jayden Eggimann (Mesa, Ariz. / Desert Ridge [Central Arizona/Grand Canyon]) leading the way by launching a grand slam and racking up seven RBIs.
How It Happened
- The Crusaders (10-18) did their first damage before the initial out of the opening inning had been recorded, as Giovanni Garbella (San Diego, Calif. / Cathedral Catholic) singled to left to drive in a pair. Two batters later, Chad Jacob (Irvine, Calif. / Woodbridge) ripped a base hit to score another, expanding the lead to 3-0.
- The big blow of the game came in the early going, as Eggimann crushed a grand slam to center with two outs in the first, expanding the Valpo lead to seven.
- The run support provided in the first inning alone was more than enough for starting pitcher Michael Mommersteeg (St. Thomas, Ont., Canada / St. Joseph’s), who gained the win after limiting the Panthers (11-8) to three runs on six hits in six innings. Mommersteeg (1-0) allowed a run in the third and two in the sixth, his final inning of work.
- Milwaukee starter Alex Fischer (1-2) lasted only the one inning. Five of the seven runs against him were unearned as the Valpo damage came on four hits, two walks and one error.
- Valpo was far from done offensively after the opening-inning outburst. The team tacked on three in the third, two of which came on a triple to left center by Eggimann.
- Christian Barczi (Naperville, Ill. / Naperville North) spanked his second home run of the season, a two-run blow to center in the fourth. The Crusaders got two more in the fifth as Shaikin singled up the middle.
- Valpo enjoyed its second seven-run inning of the day in the bottom of the sixth, expanding an already sizeable cushion to 21-3. Eggimann picked up his seventh RBI of the game with a single before being removed for a pinch runner and finishing a double shy of the cycle.
- Shaikin had a two-run double to left center, while Chase Dawson (Chesterton, Ind. / Andrean) and Scott Kapers (Schererville, Ind. / Mt. Carmel) contributed run-scoring singles in the sixth.
- Valpo added single tallies in the seventh and eighth innings, while Milwaukee got two in the eighth. Lefties Chet Joslyn (Battle Creek, Mich. / Lakeview) and Nick Leaverton (Mission Viejo, Calif. / Capistrano Valley) both turned in scoreless frames out of the Crusader bullpen.
Inside the Game
- Eggimann’s grand slam was the first of his Valpo career and the second by a Crusader this season. Dawson hit one at Arkansas Pine Bluff on March 16. Eggimann has slugged two home runs this year and four in his career.
- Eggimann enjoyed a seven RBI performance, a feat accomplished earlier this season by Zack Leone on March 17 at Arkansas Pine Bluff. Only four players in the entire Missouri Valley Conference have enjoyed seven RBI games this season and two of them play for Valpo – Illinois State’s John Rave, Missouri State’s Jeremy Eierman, Leone and Eggimann.
- Eggimann, the No. 9 hitter in the batting order, owns 28 RBIs on the season, the most of any Crusader.
- This marks the second time this season Valpo has scored 20 runs or more in a game after a 20-6 win over Holy Cross on Feb. 24. Before this year, Valpo hadn’t scored 20 or more runs in a game in any of the previous seven seasons. Wednesday was Valpo’s highest run total since posting 26 against Chicago State on April 2, 2010.
- Valpo’s 18 hits equaled a season high, matching March 3 at Grand Canyon.
- Eggimann and Shaikin had three hits apiece. Shaikin reached base six times and drove in four.
- The Crusaders scored in seven of their eight offensive innings and posted crooked numbers in five of the first six frames.
Valpo will be back in action on Friday to begin a nonconference weekend series at Michigan State. The schedule for the weekend has been altered due to the weather forecast, so the Crusaders and Spartans will play a doubleheader on Friday at 11 a.m. CT / noon ET and a single game on Saturday at noon CT / 1 p.m. ET. The games will be video streamed on BTN2GO ($) and a radio broadcast will be available courtesy of the Spartan Sports Network.