The Valparaiso University baseball team bounced back from a 14-5 loss in Game 1 to salvage a doubleheader split with Northern Kentucky on Friday, winning Game 2 17-4 at Bill Aker Complex in Highland Heights. Sam Shaikin (West Hills, Calif. / Chatsworth) was productive at the plate in both games, Giovanni Garbella (San Diego, Calif. / Cathedral Catholic) collected six RBIs in the second game and freshman Jon Tieman (Crystal Lake, Ill. / Prairie Ridge) earned a win in his first collegiate start.
How It Happened – Game 1
- The Norse (14-23, 7-7 Horizon) struck first when Trey Ganns clubbed a run-scoring double to tally an unearned run as T.J. Alas had reached on an error to start the inning.
- The Crusaders (15-21, 5-9 Horizon) quickly got even as Shaikin led off the second with a solo homer to right.
- Later in the inning, the Crusaders gained the lead when Scott Kapers (Schererville, Ind. / Mount Carmel) stroked a run-scoring single to left center. The lead was short-lived, as Jake Richmond slugged a homer to left in the third. Ganns doubled, allowing another run to cross the plate. Dominic Mercurio drilled a two-run homer, making it 5-2 Northern Kentucky.
- The Crusaders took a bite out of the deficit in the fifth as Shaikin continued his strong performance by ripping a two-run double to right center, whittling the deficit to one at 5-4.
- Ganns clubbed a two-run homer to right in the fifth, boosting Northern Kentucky’s lead to 7-4.
- The ball continued to fly out of the yard in the seventh when Richmond lifted his second home run of the day against Mario Losi (Anaheim, Calif. / Canyon). In the eighth inning, Ganns matched his Norse teammate by drilling his second home run.
- The eighth inning continued to spiral in the wrong direction for the Crusaders as Brad Bohlen hit a soft grounder to short that went for an infield single to score a run, then Richmond was hit by a pitch to force in a run. That spelled the end of the day for Losi, who was replaced by Hayden Kissee (Indianapolis, Ind. / Greenfield Central [Kaskasia College]).
- The damage continued as Alas cracked a two-run double, then Will Haueter notched a single. By the time the inning ending, six runs had crossed the dish.
- Shaikin walked with the bases loaded in the ninth to pick up another RBI, Valpo’s final run of a game that ended in a 14-5 loss.
How It Happened – Game 2
- A string of three straight singles from Chad Jacob (Irvine, Calif. / Woodbridge), Jake Hanson (Yorkville, Ill. / Aurora Christian) and Christian Barczi (Naperville, Ill. / Naperville North) put the Crusaders in business in the first inning of Game 2. Valpo settled for one run as Jacob scampered home on a sac fly by Shaikin.
- The Norse tied the game in the third as Dominic Mercurio smoked a run-scoring double against Tieman.
- Garbella continued his stellar week when he unloaded a three-run bomb in the fourth. He entered the week with one home run on the season, and hit three this week.
- The Norse went to the pen in the fifth as starting pitcher Brody Basilone was replaced by Travis Rowland. Rowland faced only three batters and gave up back-to-back jacks to Stea and Jacob, then a double off the right-field fence to Hanson. That marked the end of the day for Rowland, who was replaced by Cameron Ross.
- Shaikin lifted a sacrifice fly to drive in Hanson for Valpo’s third run of the fifth, boosting Valpo’s lead to 7-1. The inning kept going as Riley Dent (Long Beach, Calif. / Wilson) got involved with a run-scoring single to drive in Barczi.
- The Norse scored twice in the sixth as Mercurio homered and Chad Roberts doubled then scored after a pair of wild pitches. That allowed Northern Kentucky to move within five at 8-3.
- Easton Rhodehouse (Gilbert, Ariz. / Highland) surrendered a one-out homer to Chad Roberts in the eighth to make it 8-4.
- The Crusaders gained nine insurance runs in the ninth as Garbella clubbed a two-run double and Nate Palace (Westlake Village, Calif. / Oaks Christian) delivered a pinch-hit two-run homer. Jacob added an RBI single, then Hanson lifted a sac fly, Barczi provided an RBI single and Shaikin blooped a run-scoring hit. Garbella cracked an RBI double, his second two-bagger of the inning.
Inside the Games
- Garbella drove in a career-high six runs in the second game. It was the most RBIs in a game by any Crusader this season.
- Losi was hit with the loss in Game 1, dropping to 1-4 on the year. He allowed 14 runs (13 earned) on 12 hits and struck out six in 7 1/3 innings.
- JeanFrancois Dionne was the winner in Game 1, boosting his record to 3-3. He allowed four runs on nine hits while notching four strikeouts.
- Shaikin’s home run was his third of the season, Jacob’s was his third and Garbella’s was his fourth. Stea’s was his third, while Palace launched his team-leading seventh.
- Shaikin went 3-for-3 in the first game with two of his hits going for extra bases. He knocked in four runs in the opener, then drove in three more in the second game. He now has 21 RBIs this season, moving into a tie with Hanson for second on the team, one behind Palace who now has 22. Garbella also lifted his season RBI total to 20.
- Tieman was the winning pitcher in his first career start, improving to 1-1 this season. He allowed three earned runs on five hits while striking out seven in 5 2/3 frames. The losing pitcher was Basilone, who fell to 0-3.
- Stea added to his league-leading hit by pitch total as he was nailed once in the first game and twice in the second game. He has been hit 18 times this year.
- The 17 runs in the second game marked Valpo’s season high. The last time they scored 17 runs was on May 15, 2016, a 17-2 win over Oakland.
- The two teams combined for 12 home runs in the doubleheader.
- Shaikin has reached base in 20 straight games.
The Crusaders will return home for a doubleheader on Sunday against Wright State. The first game is slated to begin at noon CT. The games can be heard on 95.1 FM Valparaiso, WVUR with Ben Ariano describing the play-by-play. Links to live audio and stats are available on ValpoAthletics.com.