Valparaiso (14-20, 3-1 Mid-Con)
Game #35 at Notre Dame (21-18, 6-8 Big East)
Wed., April 25, 5:05 p.m. CDT - Notre Dame, Ind.
Games #36-39 at Oral Roberts (21-14, 4-0 Mid-Con)
Fri., April 27, 7 p.m. CDT - Tulsa, Okla.
Sat., April 28, 2 p.m. CDT (DH) - Tulsa, Okla.
Sun., April 29, 12 p.m. CDT - Tulsa, Okla.
This Week in Crusader Baseball: Having won six of their last eight games, Valparaiso gets set for five more games this week beginning with Wednesday's non-conference tilt with Notre Dame. The Crusaders then head to Tulsa, Okla. this coming weekend for a four-game Mid-Continent Conference series against preseason favorite Oral Roberts.
On the Air: Wednesday's game at Notre Dame will be broadcast live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics. The weekend series against Oral Roberts will not be broadcast in Valparaiso.
Pitching Rotation: Matt Evans (2-0, 0.69 ERA) will make the start on Wednesday evening for the Crusaders at Notre Dame. The weekend rotation has yet to be set for the Oral Roberts series, but it will include pitchers Nick Mazzone (2-4, 2.88), Harvey Yergin (3-5, 4.33), Elliott Gibbs (2-4, 5.35), and Ranko Ivetic (2-3, 6.67). The game-by-game lineup will be available later in the week.
Wrapping Up Last Week's Action: The Crusaders posted a 4-1 record beginning with a 10-1 victory at Northwestern last Tuesday. Six Valpo hurlers combined on a three-hitter and Ryan Manthei went 3-for-4 with four runs batted in, including a homer. Valpo's offense was stymied in Friday's game against Centenary as the Crusaders fell 6-2. A five-run fourth inning proved to be the difference. The Brown and Gold bounced back on Saturday, sweeping a twinbill 6-4 and 4-2. In the opener, Harvey Yergin went seven solid innings and Dallas Cawiezell hit the go-ahead homerun in the seventh. Game two saw Nick Mazzone not allow an earned run in five innings and Josh Piazza homered in the three-run sixth to give Valpo the doubleheader sweep. In Sunday's series finale, Ranko Ivetic went seven innings allowing just two runs and Jeff Rickert drove home three in a 9-2 win for the Crusaders.
Scouting Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish saw their five-game winning streak snapped on Sunday afternoon in the finale of their weekend series with West Virginia 16-7. Brett Lilley leads the offensive attack for Notre Dame hitting .371 on the season while A.J. Pollock is hitting .365 with a team-high three homers and 23 runs batted in. On the mound, Brett Graffy, the scheduled starter against Valpo, is 2-2 on the season with a 5.13 earned run average. He has struck out 22 in 33.1 innings.
Scouting Oral Roberts: The Golden Eagles are coming off of a four-game sweep against Southern Utah to open Mid-Con play last weekend. Oral Roberts enters the week having won six straight overall, and has defeated four nationally-ranked teams this season. Stephen Pearson leads the offense hitting .303 on the year. Chad Rothford has hit eight homeruns and Brian Van Kirk has added six long balls to lead the way. On the mound, closer Chance Chapman is 4-1 with a 1.26 ERA and four saves. Jeremy Haefner has a team-high five victories to go along with his 3.38 ERA.
Arensdorff Four Hits Shy of School Record: With 50 hits this season, Michael Arensdorff now has 247 for his Valpo career. He is just four base hits shy of tying Mark Pederson's school record of 251 and currently sits in second place on the Crusaders' all-time charts. Last week he passed Marc Boggio's total of 242.
A Dozen for Piazza: After seeing teammates Michael Arensdorff and Brian Rzepka each register 12-game hitting streaks earlier this season, catcher Josh Piazza has decided to join them. He enters the week having hit safely in each of his last 12 contests, a streak that began on March 24 against Chicago State. On the season the Crusader senior is hitting .348, fourth in the Mid-Continent Conference.
Evans Shines on the Hill for Valpo: Freshman Matt Evans recorded his first two collegiate victories last week for the Brown and Gold. The left-hander allowed just two hits in three innings against Northwestern, his first collegiate start, then came on in relief against Centenary in a tie ball game with runners on second and third and proceeded to get out of the inning before the Valpo offense scored three runs. On the year Evans has a 0.69 ERA in 10 appearances, allowing just one earned run in 13 innings. Opponents are hitting just .190 against him on the year.
Arensdorff Closing in on Runs Record as Well: Michael Arensdorff has crossed the plate 27 times already this season, giving him 142 runs scored in his career. He has tied Marc Boggio for third all-time and is two runs shy of Rob Hadrick for second. The school record is 158 set by Mark Pedersen.
Arensdorff Second in the Mid-Con in Hitting: Michael Arensdorff's .357 batting average on the year ranks second in the Mid-Continent Conference. The fifth-year senior trails just Brett Pendell of Western Illinois who is hitting .373 on the year.
Cawiezell and Manthei Bring Runners Home: Dallas Cawiezell and Ryan Manthei have both done their jobs of scoring runners from third with less than two outs. Both hitters have scored the runner in all six opportunities they each have had.
Valpo Protects Late Leads: When the Crusaders have taken a lead into the late innings, they have made them stand up. Valpo is 13-1 when leading after six innings this season and a perfect 7-0 when leading after seven or eight frames.
Three the Magic Number: Valparaiso is a perfect 10-0 when holding the opposition to three runs or less on the season.
Two Starters Among Mid-Con Leaders: Two members of Valparaiso's starting pitching staff rank among the top five in the Mid-Continent Conference in earned run average. Nick Mazzone is second in the league with his 2.88 ERA while Harvey Yergin is fifth at 4.33.
Cawiezell Turns into Valpo's Stopper: Dallas Cawiezell registered a pair of saves on Saturday against Centenary giving him four for the season. His seven career saves are tied for fifth most in a Brown and Gold uniform during an individual career.
Arensdorff Third in Career Doubles: Michael Arensdorff also ranks third on Valpo's career two-bagger list with 52 career doubles. The fifth-year senior already has 12 doubles this season to lead the team and is third in the Mid-Con this season in that category.
Yergin Sixth on Innings Pitched List: Harvey Yergin has moved into fourth place on Valpo's career innings pitched list with 280 over his four-year career with the Brown and Gold. With just 1.2 more innings he will match Shawn Barker for third place on the career list and with six more innings will equal John Grippi's mark in second place.
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.
Butler Game Rescheduled as Part of Twinbill: The Valpo-Butler game that was rained out on April 3 in Indianapolis will be made up as part of a twinbill on May 1 at Emory G. Bauer Field beginning at 1 p.m. CDT.
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.