06/07/2021 9:26 PM -
Crestwood, Ill. – June 7, 2021 – Both Malek Mostafa (Elmhurst University / Westmont, Ill.) and Justin Schassburger (Anderson University / Dyer, Ind.) combined for 12 strikeouts, while scattering just three runs on Monday. Unfortunately, however, the Panthers’ (4-4) hitting struggles overshadowed those excellent performances, leading to a 3-2 loss to the MCL Minutemen (3-3).
Besides a home run from Hayden Matulich (Purdue University-Northwest / San Jose, Calif.) and hits from Tyler Schultz (Purdue University-Northwest / Hobart, Ind.) and Ronald Applewhite (Culver-Stockton College / Chicago, Ill.), Crestwood failed to put anything together offensively. As a team, the Panthers stranded seven runners on base, something that manager Isaac Valdez says must come to an end.
“We need to do a better job of hitting with runners in scoring position,” Valdez said. “We had our opportunities today to put up more runs and put the game away. Sometimes, though, you have to tip your cap. They made pitches, they competed, and they ended up winning.”
Both the Minutemen and Panthers were tied at two from innings three through eight. A wild pitch from Schassburger plated what would be the winning run in Brennan Brogni. That said, Valdez was quite pleased with his pitchers’ outings, and their efforts in the face of adversity.
“Malek didn’t have his best stuff, but he continued to wiggle out of trouble,” Valdez said. “He did an outstanding job for us tonight. And, Justin did a great job of keeping us in the game late. As good as he was, we are only going to see better things out of him as he gets acclimated to playing at the college level.”
Crestwood had multiple chances to put the game away, the likes of which included a bases-loaded rally in the third that only produced one run. Valdez mentioned, though, that this is bound to happen at times, and must be considered a learning opportunity.
“We had opportunities, but we didn’t cash in on them,” Valdez said. “You are going to have days like that. We need to learn from this moving forward, and make adjustments as a team.”
The Panthers will have a chance to do just that on Tuesday night at Oil City Stadium, as they oppose the Northwest Indiana Oilmen at 7:10 P.M. Coverage begins at 7:00 P.M. on the Panthers’ Broadcast Network, available via Facebook Live.