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Baseball Set to Host Indiana at U.S. Steel Yard
Damon McCormick is 5-for-5 on stolen base attempts this season. (Ray Acevedo)
Damon McCormick is 5-for-5 on stolen base attempts this season. (Ray Acevedo)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Valparaiso (11-18, 2-1 Horizon)
Game #30 vs. Indiana (14-14, 2-4 Big Ten)
Tuesday, Apr. 13, 7 p.m. - U.S. Steel Yard, Gary, Ind.
Game #31 vs. Indiana-Northwest (1-31)
Wednesday, Apr. 14, 3 p.m. - Emory G. Bauer Field

This Week in Crusader Baseball: Valparaiso returns to the Northwest Indiana area for its next 12 games, beginning on Tuesday evening as the Crusaders host Indiana at U.S. Steel Yard in Gary.  The Brown and Gold will then return to Emory G. Bauer Field on Wednesday afternoon to face Indiana-Northwest.

On the Air:  Both the game against Indiana and the contest against Indiana-Northwest will be broadcast live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at www.valpoathletics.com.  Live stats will also be available for both games this week through www.valpoathletics.com.

Pitching Rotation: Valpo has not announced its starting pitchers for the two midweek contests yet.  Indiana and Indiana-Northwest have not announced a starter either.

Head Coach Tracy Woodson: Tracy Woodson is now in his fourth season at the helm of the Brown and Gold.  A former World Series champion with the 1988 Los Angeles Dodgers, Woodson has a 82-111 record both at Valpo and for his career. 

Wrapping Up Recent Action: The Crusaders opened Horizon League play over the weekend taking two out of three at Youngstown State.  Valpo won both ends of Saturday’s doubleheader.  In the opener Valpo scored two in the 10th for a 6-4 victory.  In the nightcap, Bryce Shafer tossed eight innings of two-hit ball as Valpo shutout the Penguins 4-0.  On Sunday, in the makeup of Friday’s contest, Blake Aquadro allowed just one run in eight innings as Youngstown State took the final game of the series 8-1 against the Crusaders.

Scouting Indiana: The Hoosiers are looking to rebound after dropping two of three at Ohio State over the weekend.  Jerrud Sabourin leads Indiana hitting .444 on the season with six homeruns and 32 runs batted in while Alex Dickerson is batting .420 with 13 homers and 42 RBIs.  As a team Indiana is hitting .320 while the pitching staff has a 6.17 ERA.

Scouting Indiana-Northwest:
The RedHawks have dropped 12 straight games after being swept in a doubleheader at Ashford on Saturday.  They play at Robert Morris (Ill.) Tuesday before facing Valpo.  Jimmy Flores leads the team hitting .412.

Shafer Named Horizon League Pitcher of the Week: Bryce Shafer was named the Horizon League’s Pitcher of the Week after earning two victories during the week of April 5-11.  Shafer tossed 13.1 innings and allowed just 10 hits and two runs while striking out 20 on the week.  He earned wins against Wabash and Youngstown State, including pitching eight innings of two-hit shutout baseball against the Penguins.

Exhibition Game Added to the Schedule: The Brown and Gold will play an exhibition game against the Gary SouthShore RailCats for the second straight year on May 12 beginning at 6 p.m. at U.S. Steel Yard.

Frane Leads League in Hitting: Justin Frane leads the Horizon League with a .420 batting average.  Frane, a junior, has 14 multi-hit games this year, including two four-hit efforts and a five-hit performance.  On the year Frane is slugging .620 with 21 runs batted in.  He has an 11-point lead over Milwaukee’s Tim Patzman entering the week.

Shafer Leads League in Ks: Bryce Shafer struck out 20 in two starts last week and now leads the Horizon League with 58 punchouts this year, five more than Youngstown State’s Aaron Swenson.  His career high in a season is 79 set last year.

Stealing Bases Successfully:
Valpo may not lead the league in total stolen bases, but the Crusaders have the best success rate in the conference.  Base runners have converted 30 of 35 stolen base opportunities (85.7%), led by Kyle Gaedele’s perfect 8-for-8 effort.  Damon McCormick has also been successful in all five of his attempts this season.

Errors Prove Costly: Defensive miscues have led to quite a few opponent runs thus far this season.  Valpo has made 55 errors on the year, leading to 65 unearned runs.  Every pitcher has fallen victim to unearned runs after Tyler Deetjen gave up a pair last week, Bryce Shafer has allowed 19 unearned runs this season, most on the team.

Six Innings Are Key: Valpo has posted a 10-1 record this season when leading after six innings.  However, when the Crusaders are tied or trailing heading into the final three frames, the Brown and Gold has won just once in 18 opportunities.

Winning Horizon League Openers a Common Theme: When Valpo defeated Youngstown State in the opener of the weekend series last Saturday, the Crusaders won their Horizon League opener for the third straight year since joining the conference.  The Brown and Gold has still yet to start a conference season at home, having also played at Bulter and Wright State  over the years.

Gaedele Registers Eight Multi-RBI Games: Kyle Gaedele has had two or more runs batted in a team-leading eight times this season.  The sophomore has had four three-RBI games as well as a four-RBI effort this year.

Shafer Begins Cracking Career Top-10 Lists:
Bryce Shafer needs just one more victory to move into a tie with eight others for 10th place on the Valpo career win list.  He currently has 15 victories in just under three seasons with the Brown and Gold.  Shafer also has moved into a tie with Harvey Yergin for eighth place on Valpo’s career strikeout list with 187 for his career.  He is 15 Ks shy of Jim Pomeroy’s 202 strikeouts for seventh on the all-time list.  Shafer also needs to pitch just 9.2 more innings to tie Pomeroy for 10th on the career list in that category.

Hitting Streaks: Ryan O’Gara has the season’s longest hitting streak at 12 for the Crusaders.  The streak actually reached 14 straight games if you include the final two games from last 2009.  Justin Frane and Kyle Muhlsteff registered an 11 game streaks earlier this season as well, including hits in 10 consecutive at bats over a three-game stretch against Chicago State for Frane.

Crusaders Tie NCAA Records: Valparaiso tied a pair of NCAA records on April 2 in game one of its doubleheader against Chicago State.  The Crusaders tied the NCAA Division I mark for runs in an inning, scoring 21 times in the fifth inning, setting a new fifth inning mark all-time in the process.  In addition, the Brown and Gold tied a NCAA record for batters in an inning when 25 stepped to the plate in that fifth inning.

Frane Ties NCAA Triples Mark: In game two of the doubleheader against Chicago State on April 2, Justin Frane tied the NCAA record for triples in a game with three.  He had a chance for a record-setting fourth three-bagger, hitting one into the gap, but it one-hopped the fence for a ground rule double.

Miller a Preseason All-American:
Closer Jarad Miller was named to the Louisville Slugger NCAA Division I Preseason All-American Third Team as well as the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award initial watch list.  He earned Third Team All-America honors as a sophomore last year.  With two saves this season, Miller now has a school-record 28 for his career.

Win #1100: Valparaiso picked up the 1,100th career victory in school history earlier this season with its 17-13 triumph over Saint Bonaventure on March 2. 

O’Gara Earns Player of the Week Honors: Ryan O’Gara was named the Horizon League’s Batter of the Week on March 1 after hitting .563 (9-for-16) with two doubles, a homer, four runs scored, and seven runs batted in at the Jacksonville Tournament.

Valpo Tabbed Fifth: The Crusaders were picked to finish fourth in the Horizon League preseason poll, according to the league’s head coaches.  Valpo finished fourth in the regular season last year as well.  Wright State is the preseason favorite this year after winning the Horizon League Tournament and earning a NCAA Tournament berth last year.  Last year’s regular season champion UIC is tabbed second followed by Milwaukee and Valpo.

Horizon League Tournament Comes to Northwest Indiana:
Valparaiso will host the 2010 Horizon League Baseball Championship May 26-30 at U.S. Steel Yard in Gary, Ind.  The double elimination tournament will feature the top six teams in the conference based upon regular season play.