Valparaiso (16-28, 5-7 Mid-Con)
Games #45-48 at Oakland (16-29, 1-11 Mid-Con)
Fri., May 11, 2 p.m. CDT - Rochester, Mich.
Sat., May 12, 11 a.m. CDT (DH) - Rochester, Mich.
Sun., May 13, 11 a.m. CDT - Rochester, Mich.
This Week in Crusader Baseball: After nearly a week off, Valparaiso returns to the diamond this weekend for a big four-game series against Oakland in Rochester, Mich. The Crusaders are in the hunt for a spot in the Mid-Continent Conference Tournament, and with two weekends of league play remaining, currently hold down fourth place in the standings.
On the Air: Valparaiso's four game series at Oakland will not be broadcast live in the Valparaiso area or online.
Pitching Rotation: A pair of right-handers are slated to work in the opener of the series. Valpo is set to start Harvey Yergin (4-6, 4.42 ERA) against Oakland's Billy Schmieder (1-4, 9.44) on Friday. In game one of Saturday's doubleheader, right-hander Elliott Gibbs (2-6, 6.48) is set to battle the Golden Grizzlies' southpaw Matt Trausch (4-3, 5.61). Game two will see Valpo's left-hander Matt Evans (2-1, 2.28) against right-hander Dan Dobberowsky (2-2, 7.36). Sunday's final will see Crusader lefty Nick Mazzone (3-5, 3.17) battle Oakland righty Adam Johnson (0-4, 8.28).
Wrapping Up Last Week's Action: The Crusaders dropped five of six games last week, beginning with a pair of losses on Tuesday against Butler. Valpo won the opener of the weekend Mid-Con series against Western Illinois 10-5 before managing to score just three runs over the next three games. Solid pitching on Saturday kept the Brown and Gold close, dropping an extra inning decision 2-1 before falling in the nightcap 3-1. Michael Arensdorff led the way at the plate, hitting .375 with nine hits. Harvey Yergin earned the victory for the Crusaders, tossing a complete game allowing just two earned runs. Matt Evans allowed just one earned run in 8.1 innings of work over two outings.
Scouting Oakland: The Golden Grizzlies have won two straight entering the weekend following a pair of victories over Eastern Michigan on Monday and Tuesday. Andrew Stafford leads the Mid-Con hitting .361 while driving in a team-leading 38 runs. Kevin Carkeek has homered eight times for the league's top hitting team, as the Golden Grizzlies have posted a .306 team batting average. Oakland's pitching staff is allowing 7.30 earned runs per contest, though.
Arensdorff Sets Mid-Con and School's Hit Record: With his infield single on May 1 against Butler, Michael Arensdorff broke both Valparaiso's and the Mid-Continent Conference's career hits record with his 252nd base hit wearing the Brown and Gold. Arensdorff passed Mark Pedersen (1999-2002) for the top spot on both charts, and now has 260 for his career.
Yergin Sets Valpo's Innings Pitched Record: Harvey Yergin's complete game victory against Western Illinois gave the senior 294.2 innings over his four-year career, passing Tim Holmes for Valpo's career leader in that category. Yergin has throwing 77.1 innings already this season, and with one more complete inning will set a career best in that category.
Arensdorff Closing in on Runs Record as Well: Michael Arensdorff has crossed the plate 34 times already this season, giving him 149 runs scored in his career, passing Rob Hadrick for second all-time. The school record is 158 set by Mark Pedersen.
Arensdorff Earns Academic All-District Honors: Fifth-year senior Michael Arensdorff has been named to the Academic All-District V First Team by ESPN The Magazine and voted on by CoSIDA. Arensdorff has a 3.47 grade point average majoring in elementary education.
Arensdorff Second in the Mid-Con in Hitting: Michael Arensdorff's .354 batting average on the year ranks second in the Mid-Continent Conference this season. The fifth-year senior trails Andrew Stafford of Oakland, who is connecting at a .358 clip.
Evans Continues to Shine: Freshman Matt Evans has worked some big innings for the Crusaders this season. In his first conference start last week against Western Illinois, Evans allowed just one earned run in four innings. If you take out one outing this season against Oral Roberts, Evans has a 0.84 earned run average in 21.1 innings. On the year he still has a sparkling 2.28 ERA and a 2-1 record in 23.2 innings of work.
Valpo Protects Late Leads: When the Crusaders have taken a lead into the late innings, they have made them stand up. Valpo is 14-1 when leading after six innings this season and a perfect 8-0 when leading after seven or eight frames.
Cawiezell Turns into Valpo's Stopper: Dallas Cawiezell has seven career saves, tied for fifth most in a Brown and Gold uniform during an individual career. He has four this year, tied for third in the Mid-Con.
Mazzone Among Mid-Con's Best: Nick Mazzone is fourth in the Mid-Continent Conference this season with a 3.17 earned run average. The Crusader senior also leads Valpo's pitching staff allowing opponents to hit just .232 against him on the season, also third best in the Mid-Con.
Going for Three: Valparaiso leads the Mid-Continent Conference with 11 triples on the season. Nine different Crusaders have three-baggers, with Jeff Rickert and Ryan Manthei leading the way with two each.
Piazza Likes Hitting with Runners On: Josh Piazza is hitting .400 (16-for-40) on the season with runners on base. Overall, the Crusader catcher is third on the team with his .322 hitting stroke.
Cawiezell and Piazza Drive Runners In: Dallas Cawiezell and Josh Piazza have both done their job hitting with scoring runners position. Piazza is hitting .500 with runners on second or third while Cawiezell is hitting .412. Cawiezell is also 6-for-7 driving home runners from third with less than two outs.
Yergin to Crack Top-10 in Strikeouts: With his next strikeout, Harvey Yergin with have 179 for his career, matching Richard Jones for 10th place in school history. With two more k's, Yergin will match Sean Galiher for ninth place all-time.
Arensdorff Third in Career Doubles: Michael Arensdorff is also moving up Valpo's career two-bagger list with 55 career doubles. The fifth-year senior already has 15 doubles this season to lead the team and the Mid-Con in that category. His next double will tie him with Mark Pedersen for second all-time with 56 career doubles and Arensdorff is three two-baggers shy of Marc Boggio's career mark of 58.
Mid-Con Tournament Draws Near: With just two weekends (eight games) remaining in the regular season, Valparaiso is looking to secure a spot in the Mid-Continent Conference Tournament for the first time since 2003. Currently the Crusaders are in fourth place in the league standings, with the top for teams qualifying for Macomb, Ill. May 24-26.
Win at Oral Roberts First Ever: With Valpo's win at Oral Roberts, the Crusaders won for the first time ever in Tulsa, Okla. The Brown and Gold also ended the Golden Eagles' 40-game home conference winning streak dating back to the 2002 campaign, and beat Oral Roberts for the first time as a team since 2003.
Rickert Named Mid-Con Player of the Week: Fifth-year senior Jeff Rickert was named the Mid-Continent Conference Player of the Week on April 16 after hitting safely in four of five games. The Crusader infielder hit .500 while drawing seven walks (.672 on base percentage) and scoring six runs in games against Indiana State and North Dakota State.
Valpo Picked Sixth in Preseason Poll: The Crusaders were selected to finish in sixth place in the Mid-Continent Conference preseason poll conducted of the league's head coaches. Oral Roberts was picked to win the league crown followed by Western Illinois and Oakland. Southern Utah was tabbed fourth and Centenary fifth.