The Valparaiso University baseball team fell in both games of a doubleheader on Sunday in Los Angeles. Loyola Marymount held on for a 7-4 victory in the first game before pulling away to win the nightcap 15-5. Chase Dawson (Chesterton, Ind. / Andrean) had two hits in each game, Giovanni Garbella (San Diego, Calif. / Cathedral Catholic) drove in five runs for the day and Blake Lutgen (Straffod, Mo. / Strafford) provided perhaps the biggest highlight by slugging his first career home run in Game 2.
How It Happened – Game 1
- The Lions (6-10) scored in each of the first three frames with single-run first and third innings sandwiched around a two-run second. Both second-inning tallies crossed the dish on a double by Nick Sogard.
- Valpo (4-11) got on the board in the fifth when Jayden Eggimann (Mesa, Ariz. / Desert Ridge [Central Arizona / Grand Canyon] doubled and later came around to score on a sacrifice fly by Sam Shaikin (West Hills, Calif. . However, Loyola Marymount responded with a sac fly of its own in the bottom of the inning to make it 5-1, the first of three runs to cross the dish in a pivotal inning. By the time the third out of that frame was recorded, the Lions owned a commanding 7-1 lead.
- Starting pitcher Trey Ferketic (Laguna Niguel, Calif. / JSerra [UC San Diego]) was lifted after 4 1/3 innings. He was touched for seven runs (six earned) on nine hits and three walks. He eventually took the defeat to fall to 2-1.
- The Valpo bullpen was one of the biggest bright spots of Sunday’s first game, as Hayden Kissee (Cumerland, Ind. / Greenfield Central [Kaskaskia College]) went 2 2/3 scoreless while yielding just three hits and one walk. Jarrett Hammel (Brook, Ind. / South Newton [St. Joseph’s College]) followed by hurling a scoreless frame of his own.
- That strong relief work allowed the Crusaders to stay within striking distance and set up Garbella to make a game of it in the eighth. The Valpo senior clubbed a three-run homer, making LMU pay for consecutive walks to start the inning.
- Following the Garbella long ball, Brent Jones (Ankeny, Iowa / Ankeny Centennial [Iowa Central]) and Chad Jacob (Irvine, Calif. / Woodbridge) lashed consecutive singles to put runners at first and second with still only one away. However, the Lions wiggled out of the inning without further damage.
- The Crusaders couldn’t get the tying run to the plate in the top of the ninth, allowing Matt Voelker to nail down his first save of the year. Josh Agnew (3-1) received the win after limiting Valpo to one run on six hits over six innings.
How It Happened – Game 2
- The game lost its competitiveness early when LMU scored eight times in the bottom of the first. Starting pitcher Wes Gordon (Gurnee, Ill. / Warren [Lake County]) recorded only one out and allowed four earned runs, then Michael Mommersteeg (St. Thomas, Ont., Canada / St. Joseph’s) was charged with four more in that inning and yielded two in the second.
- With the Lions up 13-0, Valpo got on the board with two runs in the sixth as Garbella nailed a two-run double to right center. That two-bagger capitalized on an earlier error and allowed the Crusaders to score a pair of unearned runs.
- Loyola Marymount got those two tallies back in the bottom of the sixth, then Lutgen slugged his first career home run, a two-run blow, in the eighth.
- Valpo added a one more in the ninth on a Steven Fitzsimmons (Golden Valley, Minn. / Robbinsdale Cooper) single down the left-field line to account for the final score of 15-5.
- Gordon was hit with the loss to drop to 0-3, while Nick Frasso (1-2) was the winner for LMU.
Inside the Games
- The home run was Lutgen’s second career hit in just his 16th career at-bat and fourth at-bat of the season.
- Fitzsimmons’ hit and RBI were his first of the season as well.
- Dawson continued his strong offensive production, posting multi-hit games in both ends of the twin bill.
- Garbella totaled five RBIs for the day and two of Valpo’s five extra-base knocks over the two games.
- Jones got the start at first base in the opener and enjoyed the first multi-hit game of his collegiate career, going 2-for-3.
- The Valpo offense did a good job putting the ball in play in Game 1, as no Valpo player struck out in the contest. This marked the first time that occurred since April 26, 2014 against UIC.
The Crusaders will return to the diamond on Friday at 3 p.m. CT in Pine Bluff, Ark. to begin a three-game weekend series with Arkansas Pine Bluff.