Valparaiso University Sports Update, March 8, 2017

By: Valparaiso University Last Updated: March 8, 2017

VU-Stellar-Pitching-Three-Run-Ninth-Lift-Crusaders-Over-QuakersStellar Pitching, Three-Run Ninth Lift Crusaders Over Quakers
Michael Mommersteeg may have been making his first collegiate start, but the freshman southpaw looked like a seasoned veteran on Tuesday afternoon at First Data Field, the Spring Training home of the New York Mets. The Crusaders posted a three-run ninth inning to snap a scoreless tie and held on to beat Pennsylvania 3-0 in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

How It Happened

  • Giovanni Garbella ripped a two-out double in the first, but was left stranded at second base. The Crusaders also had a runner on base in the second and a man in scoring position in the third, but Penn starter Mike Reitcheck didn’t allow any damage.
  • Reitcheck dominated the middle part of the game, at one point sending down 16 of 17.
  • Not to be outdone, Mommersteeg turned in a masterful outing. He faced the minimum in the fourth and fifth innings, then retired the first two batters of the sixth. Back-to-back singles created Penn’s best scoring chance of the day, but Mommersteeg induced a fly ball to left that ended the frame.
  • Mommersteeg’s day came to a close after six innings, and Valpo head coach Brian Schmack called upon Easton Rhodehouse to pitch the seventh. Rhodehouse walked the leadoff man, but bounced back to get the final three hitters in order.
  • The Crusaders snapped Reitchek’s rhythm in the eighth inning, as Dawson and Stea stroked consecutive singles to cause the Quakers to go to the bullpen. Facing reliever Jake Nelson, Nate Palace grounded out to end the inning.
  • Rhodehouse came back out for his second inning of work in the bottom of the eighth, but left with the bases loaded and two outs after allowing two walks and a hit batter. Ellis Foreman came in and induced a ground ball to short, the biggest out of the day.
  • The Crusaders made a winner out of Foreman in the top of the ninth, when they broke through for three runs. Garbella and Jake Hanson had base hits to start the frame, then Jayden Eggimann clubbed a one-out double that drove in a pair. Eggimann eventually came in to score as Scott Kapers reached on an error.
  • Jon Tieman mowed down the Quakers in order in the bottom of the ninth to preserve the 3-0 win.

Inside the Game

  • Valpo stands at 5-5 on the season, its first time at .500 or better through 10 games since 1999, when Paul Twenge’s squad also began the year 5-5.
  • Tieman nailed down his fourth save of the season, joining a group of 18 pitchers in the nation with four saves or more already this year. He leads the Horizon League in that category. Just 10 games into the season, Tieman is already over half way to Ryan Fritze’s team-leading seven saves from a year ago. Half of Valpo’s games have featured save chances this year, with Tieman going 4-of-5.
  • This is Valpo’s first shutout victory of the season. In fact, the Crusaders haven’t had a shutout win this early in a season since 2009.
  • Foreman’s win was his first of the year. The Valpo bullpen has earned the win in three of the team’s five triumphs
  • Mommersteeg did not allow a walk and struck out four while scattering five hits over six scoreless frames.
  • Nelson took the defeat for Penn, allowing three runs on three hits in 1 1/3 innings. Reitcheck went 7 2/3 and scattered six hits while allowing no walks and striking out five.
  • Garbella went 2-for-4, his second multi-hit game of the season. He now has hits in six straight.
  • Dawson also had two hits, his fourth multi-hit game of the year.
  • Eggimann chipped in two hits as well, his first multi-hit game in a Valpo uniform.

Next Up
The Crusaders and Quakers will go at it again on Wednesday at 2 p.m. CT in Port St. Lucie, Fla. The game will be played on one of the Mets’ minor league spring training fields. A link to live stats will be available on ValpoAthletics.com.

Valpo Releases 2017 Football Schedule
The Valparaiso University football team has unveiled its 2017 schedule. The Crusaders will open the season with a trip to Montana on Sept. 2, before welcoming Duquesne for the home opener on Sept. 9.

Montana, a member of the Big Sky, went 6-5 last season and boasted a 5-1 home mark. The Grizzlies have played their home games at Washington-Grizzly Stadium since 1986. Montana has gone undefeated at home 11 times in its 30 years at Washington-Grizzly Stadium.

Montana has had 30 winning seasons in the last 31 years. They missed the FCS playoffs last season for the first time since 2012 and third time since 1995. The Grizzlies are entering the third season under the direction of head coach Bob Stitt. They featured the fifth-best passing attack in the nation in 2016, racking up 327 yards per game and 34 touchdowns over 11 games.

The Crusaders will face Duquesne for the third time after also battling the Dukes in 2011 and 2012. Duquesne returns 14 starters from a team that went 8-3 and shared the Northeast Conference title.

Valpo travels to Deerfield, Ill. to face NAIA foe Trinity International on Sept. 16. The Crusaders have faced Trinity International twice, a home-and-home in 2006 and 2007. The Crusaders are seeking their first victory over the Trojans. Trinity International went 4-7 last year, 1-4 in the Mid-States Football Association.

Valpo begins Pioneer Football League play on Sept. 23 at Drake, a team that beat Valpo 35-21 a year ago and finished 7-4 and 6-2 in PFL play. The first PFL home game will occur on Sept. 30 against Stetson, a team Valpo beat 21-18 a year ago. The Hatters finished last season 4-7, 2-6 in PFL play.

The Crusaders play their third road game in a four-week span on Oct. 7 at Campbell, a team that will be playing its final season in the PFL before joining the Big South in 2018. Valpo hasn’t played Campbell since 2014, a 34-24 Valpo loss that snapped a three-game head-to-head winning streak.

Marist is also back on the schedule after a two-year hiatus. The Crusaders host the Red Foxes on Oct. 14. Marist finished last season 5-6, 5-3 in PFL play.

The Crusaders will enjoy a bye week on Oct. 21, before hosting Morehead State on Oct. 28. The Eagles and Crusaders have competed in thrillers each of the last three seasons, with Morehead State winning by seven points or fewer on all three occasions.

The Crusaders will look to repeat the success of their 42-39 victory over Jacksonville in the 2016 season finale when they visit the Dolphins on Nov. 4. Jacksonville finished 2016 at 5-5, 4-3 in PFL play.

The Hoosier Helmet will be back up for grabs on Nov. 11, as this year’s rivalry showdown between Valpo and Butler will occur in Indianapolis. The Crusaders close the season by hosting Dayton on Nov. 18.

Valpo will not play defending PFL champion San Diego this season, marking the first time since joining the league in 1993 that the Crusaders will not face off with the Toreros.

Schorsch Wins 11th Career Player of the Week Award
Horizon League weekly awards have become the norm for the Valparaiso University men’s tennis program.

A day after corralling his 100th career doubles victory and a day before taking a crack at his 100th career singles win, Valpo senior Jeffrey Schorsch (Perrysburg, Ohio / Perrysburg) was named the Horizon League Player of the Week on Tuesday.

Schorsch went 2-0 at No. 1 singles and 3-0 in doubles to help Valpo to victories over Rollins College, Mount St. Mary’s and Grand Valley State to begin its spring break trip. Schorsch worked with three different doubles partners this week and won all three matches.

He became the second player in program history to reach 100 career doubles wins on Monday night against Grand Valley State. With his next singles victory, Schorsch will become the first player in program history to hit the century mark.

Schorsch has strung together nine straight singles wins to start the spring season. He stands at 15-5 overall.

This marks the second time Schorsch has won the Player of the Week honor this season and the first since Jan. 24. He now owns 11 career Horizon League Player of the Week awards. Valpo has received three men’s Player of the Week awards, three men’s Doubles Team of the Week Awards and two women’s Doubles Team of the Week awards in the first seven weeks of the season.

The Crusaders have won nine consecutive matches and stand at 10-1 overall. They continue their Florida trip on Wednesday at 2 p.m. Central Time at St. Leo.