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Valpo Baseball Hosts Cleveland State and Saint Francis (Ind.) This Weekend
Steven Scoby went 4-for-4 with seven RBIs. (Ray Acevedo)
Steven Scoby went 4-for-4 with seven RBIs. (Ray Acevedo)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Valparaiso (12-19, 2-1 Horizon)
Games #32-34 vs. Cleveland State (8-21, 2-4 Horizon)
Friday, Apr. 16, 3 p.m. CDT - Emory G. Bauer Field
Saturday, Apr. 17, 12 p.m. CDT (DH) - Emory G. Bauer Field
Game #35 vs. Saint Francis (Ind.) (10-27-1, 6-4 MCC)
Sunday, Apr. 18, 1 p.m. CDT - Emory G. Bauer Field

This Week in Crusader Baseball: Valparaiso continues its homestand this weekend with four more games, including a key three game Horizon League series.  The Crusaders open up on Friday afternoon hosting Cleveland State before wrapping up the conference series against the Vikings with a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon.  Sunday, Valpo will step out of conference play to host Saint Francis (Ind.).

On the Air:  All three games against Cleveland State as well as the contests against Saint Francis (Ind.) will be broadcast live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at www.valpoathletics.com.  Live stats will also be available for every game this weekend through www.valpoathletics.com.

Pitching Rotation: Friday’s contest will see a pair of southpaws as Jon Gulbransen (LHP, 2-2, 3.42) toes the rubber for Valpo against Cleveland State’s Anthony Sambula (LHP, 4-3, 3.71).  Game one on Saturday has Valpo’s Bryce Shafer (RHP, 4-3, 4.67) set to battle Coty Bates (RHP, 0-3, 7.86).  The series finally is scheduled to have Damon McCormick (RHP, 3-0, 5.72) take the mound for Valpo against the Vikings’ Jimmy Cowhy (LHP, 1-3, 9.67).  Sunday against Saint Francis (Ind.), the Crusaders are tentatively scheduled to send Tyler Deetjen (LHP, 1-1, 7.23) to the hill while the Cougars have not announced a starter at this time.

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 83-112 record both at Valpo and for his career. 

Wrapping Up Recent Action: The Crusaders began the week dropping an 11-2 decision to Indiana on Tuesday evening at U. S. Steel Yard in Gary.  The Hoosiers scored eight times in the first four innings while Valpo struggled to get key hits, stranding 16 runners on base.  Kyle Gaedele led the Crusader offense with two hits.  The Brown and Gold will play at U. S. Steel Yard three more times this year.  Valpo had its bats going on Wednesday, though, scoring nine times in the first on the way to a 17-1 win against Indiana-Northwest.  Steven Scoby homered twice for the Crusaders on the way to a 4-for-4 game while driving in seven runs.  Billy Cribbs added a 3-for-3 game with three runs batted in and three runs scored for Valparaiso.  Valpo is now 5-1 at home at Emory G. Bauer Field on the year.

Scouting Cleveland State: The Vikings enter the weekend looking to snap a three-game losing streak following a 6-3 setback against Kent State on Wednesday.  Last weekend Cleveland State won two out of three against Wright State for its first Horizon League wins of the year.  Kyle Shaffer lads the Vikings offensively, hitting .358 with six homers and 32 runs batted in.  As a team Cleveland State is hitting .262 while its pitching staff has posted an 8.83 earned run average.

Scouting Saint Francis (Ind.):
The Cougars enter Thursday’s doubleheader against Bethel (Ind.) riding a five-game winning streak.  Saint Francis also hosts Bluffton on Friday before heading to Bethel for two on Saturday.  Tristen Peffley leads the Cougar offensive attack, hitting .364 on a team that is hitting .270 overall.  The pitching staff has posted an 8.98 ERA this year.

Shafer Named Horizon League Pitcher of the Week and People’s Choice Winner:
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.  He also was voted the People’s Choice winner through the Horizon League Network.

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 .425 batting average.  Frane, a junior, has 15 multi-hit games this year, including two four-hit efforts and a five-hit performance.  On the year Frane is slugging .613 with 21 runs batted in.

Shafer Leads League in Ks: Bryce Shafer struck out 20 in two starts last week and now leads the Horizon League with 59 punchouts this year, six more than Youngstown State’s Aaron Swenson.  His career high in a season is 79 set last year.

High Octane Offense: When Valpo scored 17 runs against Indiana-Northwest on Wednesday, it marked the ninth time this season in 31 games the Brown and Gold has scored double figure runs.  Valpo also has tallied nine runs on two occasions.

Welcome Back Scoby: After missing nine games with an injury, Steven Scoby returned to the Valpo lineup on Wednesday afternoon against Indiana-Northwest.  The sophomore went 4-for-4 with two homers, a double, and drove in seven runs, a career high.  He also scored four times.

Home League Openers: Valpo is 1-1 in their first home Horizon League game of the season, downing Cleveland State in 2008 and losing to Milwaukee last 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 passed Harvey Yergin into eighth place on Valpo’s career strikeout list with 188 for his career.  He is 14 Ks shy of Jim Pomeroy’s 202 strikeouts for seventh on the all-time list.  Shafer also needs to pitch just 8.2 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.