Kevin Steger’s debut keeps Admirals afloat, Hounds rally in ninth to win

Story by:  Jay Sanchez

The Joliet Admirals played a doubleheader on Saturday in which six pitchers were used, and all but one of them pitched more than one inning. So it was important for Sunday’s starter to have a quality outing to prevent taxing the bullpen even further, especially with another game to play the following day.

Newly added pitcher Kevin Steger did just that. He went deep into the game and did that while on a pitch count.

The 6’6 right-hander, out of Triton Community College, made his Admirals debut Sunday against the first-place DuPage Hounds. He pitched seven innings, gave up two runs and struck out four on only 75 pitches.

“He pitched awesome today,” said Admirals pitcher Brock Borgeson on his new teammate’s start. “He only threw 75 pitches in seven innings, and that’s the epitome of being efficient as a pitcher,” he later added.

Admirals manager Jorge Garza said he’s looking forward for Steger to pitch more innings this summer, add depth into the starting rotation and be a “nice 1-2 punch” behind No. 1 starter, Quinn Ahern.

“Kevin Steger was a big-time pickup for us. Great, quality kid, he pitches very well,” said Garza.

The Admirals (3-8) gave Steger run support right from the get-go, scoring two runs in the first. However, those were the only runs delivered by the offense. The Hounds (10-3) climbed back to tie the game in the seventh inning, and then things unraveled in the ninth in which they scored five runs en route to their victory.

“We were strong all the way throughout until the end, and that’s kind of where we need to fix it up here.” said Garza. “It’s not very good to play eight innings of baseball when it’s a nine-inning game.”

Ryan Kent, like Steger, also made his Admirals debut. The outfielder, out of Morehead State University, was the team’s lead-off man and went 1 for 3 with a stolen base, and a run scored.

Alec Barnhart was 1 for 3 with a stolen base, which extends his hitting streak to eight games. He’s delivered at least a hit in all of his starts this season. Jeff Evak finished 1 for 3 with a run scored, and two stolen bases. He has a hit in four straight starts. Shortstop Logan Fleener continues to have the highest batting average on the team. His 1 for 3 day, along with a run scored, gives him a five-game hitting streak and lowers his batting average to .450.

The Admirals are back at it again Monday for their fifth game in last four days. This time, they travel to Flossmoor, IL to face the Southland Vikings. Their third road game of the season is expected to start at 7 pm.

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