Valparaiso (15-23, 4-4 Mid-Con)
Game #39-40 vs. Butler (16-26, 8-15 Horizon)
Tues., May 1, 1 p.m. CDT (DH) - Emory G. Bauer Field
Games #41-44 vs. Western Illinois (27-18, 8-4 Mid-Con)
Fri., May 4, 12 p.m. CDT (DH) - Emory G. Bauer Field
Sat., May 5, 12 p.m. CDT (DH) - Emory G. Bauer Field
This Week in Crusader Baseball: Valparaiso returns to Emory G. Bauer Field for a six-game homestand this week as the Crusaders have three doubleheaders on the schedule. Valpo will open the week on Tuesday with a twinbill against future Horizon League foe Butler before entertaining Western Illinois in a pair of Mid-Continent Conference doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday.
On the Air: All six games this week can be heard live online. Game one of Tuesday's doubleheader against Butler and both twinbills against Western Illinois will be carried live online at www.sportsjuice.com. In addition, game two of Tuesday's doubleheader with Butler will be carried live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics.
Pitching Rotation: In Tuesday's action against Butler, Valpo will send Ranko Ivetic (2-3, 7.92 ERA) and Matt Stucky (0-0, 7.56) to the hill against Bryan Bokowy (3-5, 4.61) and Matt Byzet (0-1, 5.94). For Stucky, it will be his first collegiate start. The Crusader rotation for the weekend will be determined following Tuesday's games, but should include Nick Mazzone (3-4, 3.06), Harvey Yergin (3-6, 4.74), and Elliott Gibbs (2-5, 6.08), along with possibly Ivetic. Western Illinois will counter with Quinn Leath (2-4, 4.64), Travis Tolsma (4-5, 4.63), Rob Johnson (5-4, 7.49), and Mark DiBernardo (3-0, 5.72).
Wrapping Up Last Week's Action: The Crusaders won the final game of the weekend series from Oral Roberts 7-3 on Sunday afternoon after dropping the first three games of the series. Nick Mazzone earned the win, working 6.1 innings allowing just three runs and seven hits. Dallas Cawiezell led the offensive attack on the weekend, hitting .375 with two homers and six runs batted in. Jason Brunelli hit .385 in the four games while Jeff Rickert added five hits. Cawiezell also tossed 2.2 innings of scoreless relief to secure the victory for the Crusaders.
Scouting Butler: The Bulldogs enter the week having won four out of their last six games, including taking two of three in Horizon League action against Youngstown State last week. Dustin Bucalo leads the offense for Butler hitting .320 while Joe Pauley checks in at .292. Joe Dempsey has five homeruns and a team-leading 34 runs batted in. Ryan Kruszka is the team's top pitcher with a 2-5 record and a 2.96 ERA in 54.2 innings of work.
Scouting Western Illinois: The Leathernecks enter this week having split a four-game weekend series with Centenary. Western Illinois won the final two games, including an extra inning affair. Brett Pendell leads the Mid-Continent Conference in hitting at a .370 clip with 13 doubles. Travis Check enters the week at .341 with seven homers and a team-high 42 runs batted in. Out of the bullpen, Todd Nelson is 6-2 with a 1.22 earned run average and three saves in 18 appearances. Travis Tolsma is the team's top starter with a 4-5 mark and a 4.63 ERA.
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 Tuesday at Emory G. Bauer Field beginning at 1 p.m. CDT.
Arensdorff Ties School Hits Record: With 54 hits this season, Michael Arensdorff now has 251 for his Valpo career, tying Mark Pederson's school record. The fifth-year senior tied the mark with his 4-for-4 performance on Sunday at Oral Roberts.
Piazza's Hitting Streak Comes to an End: After seeing teammates Michael Arensdorff and Brian Rzepka each register 12-game hitting streaks earlier this season, catcher Josh Piazza decided to do one better, registering a team-best 13 game hitting streak, which came to an end on Saturday at Oral Roberts. Dallas Cawiezell now has the longest current streak on the team, having hit safely in each of his last seven contests.
Yergin Closing in on Innings Pitched Record: Harvey Yergin has moved within six innings of tying the school's career innings pitched mark. The Crusader right-hander has thrown 285.2 innings over the last four years, third most in school history. He needs just 0.1 innings to tie John Grippi for second and 6.1 innings to move past Tim Holmes for the top spot.
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.
Arensdorff Closing in on Runs Record as Well: Michael Arensdorff has crossed the plate 30 times already this season, giving him 145 runs scored in his career, passing Rob Hadrick for second all-time. The school record is 158 set by Mark Pedersen.
Arensdorff Third in the Mid-Con in Hitting: Michael Arensdorff's .351 batting average on the year ranks third in the Mid-Continent Conference this season. The fifth-year senior trails just Brett Pendell of Western Illinois who is hitting .370 on the year and Andrew Stafford of Oakland, who is connecting at a .359 clip.
Cawiezell Goes Deep in Conference Play: Dallas Cawiezell hit a pair of homeruns for the Crusaders at Oral Roberts this weekend, and now has hit three bombs in the first eight conference games of the year. He has hit four total on the year and also leads Valpo with 22 runs batted in.
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.
Three the Magic Number: Valparaiso is a perfect 11-0 when holding the opposition to three runs or less on the season.
Brunelli Swings Hot Bat at ORU: Jason Brunelli led Valpo hitting .385 with five hits in 13 at bats against the Golden Eagles last weekend. He also drew three walks, posting a .500 on base percentage in the four games.
Cawiezell Turns into Valpo's Stopper: Dallas Cawiezell has seven career saves and is tied for fifth most in a Brown and Gold uniform during an individual career. He has four this year, tied for second in the Mid-Con.
Crusaders Circling the Bases: Joe Lazar produced a run-scoring triple for Valpo in the final game of the series with Oral Roberts. As a team, the Crusaders now have 10 three-baggers, tied for the league lead.
Arensdorff Third in Career Doubles: Michael Arensdorff also ranks third on Valpo's career two-bagger list with 53 career doubles. The fifth-year senior already has 13 doubles this season to lead the team and is tied for the Mid-Con lead this season in that category.
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.