#3 Valparaiso (21-32, 10-10 Mid-Con)
at Mid-Continent Conference Tournament
May 24-26, 2007, Macomb, Ill.
Alfred D. Boyer Stadium (4,000)
This Week in Crusader Baseball: Valparaiso heads to the Mid-Continent Conference Tournament for the first time since 2003 as the Crusaders face second seeded Western Illinois (31-24, 11-9 Mid-Con) on Thursday afternoon at 3 p.m. in the opening round. Oral Roberts (37-15, 19-1), the top seed, and Centenary (26-29, 9-11), the fourth seed will meet in the other first round game. Thursday's winners will meet on Friday at 1:15 p.m. in the double elimination event while the losers will square off at 10 a.m. Play continues Friday at 4:30 p.m. with the championship round starting Saturday at 11:30 a.m.
On the Air: All of Valpo's Mid-Con Tournament games can be heard live online at www.sportsjuice.com. Nick Kovatch and Adam Amin will call all the action live from Macomb, Ill.
First Round Starter: Valparaiso is expected to send right-hander Harvey Yergin (4-6, 4.42 ERA) to the hill in the tournament opener against the Leathernecks. Against Western Illinois earlier this year, the Crusader senior went the distance in a 10-5 Valpo victory. He allowed 11 hits and just two earned runs while fanning five.
Wrapping Up Last Weekend's Action: The Crusaders swept Southern Utah in a four-game series to wrap up the regular season at Emory G. Bauer Field. Valpo scored three runs in both the seventh and eighth innings to post an 8-3 victory over the Thunderbirds on Friday. In Saturday's opener, Southern Utah balked in the winning run in the bottom of the 10th of a 3-2 Crusader victory while Valpo scored three in the first of game two on the way to a 4-2 win. The series finale was stopped in the bottom of the fifth due to rain, but a six-run second propelled the Crusaders toa 7-1 victory.
Scouting Western Illinois: The Leathernecks won three out of four games against the Crusaders at Emory G. Bauer Field May 4-5, with Valpo winning the opener. Brett Pendell leads the Western Illinois offense hitting .349 on the year. Travis Check is hitting .330 with a team-leading eight homeruns while driving in 48 runs. Matt Newquist leads the league with 50 runs batted in. On the mound, Todd Nelson has appeared in 22 games, posting a 7-3 record with a 2.08 earned run average. Travis Tolsma is the team's top starter, recording a 5-5 mark with a 4.16 ERA and 50 strikeouts. As a team, the Leathernecks are hitting .267 with a 5.77 ERA from the pitching staff.
Scouting Oral Roberts: The Golden Eagles won three of four from the Crusaders in Tulsa, Okla. on April 27-29. Oral Roberts has won 13 straight games overall and 22 of its last 23 contests overall, with the lone loss coming to the Crusaders in the series finale. Brendan Duffy leads the way with a .356 batting average and 20 stolen bases while Jake Kahaulelio is hitting .325 with 41 runs batted in. Chad Rothford has hit a Mid-Con leading 11 homers on the year. On the mound, Chance Chapman is 7-1 with a 1.33 ERA in 81 innings while striking out 114 hitters. Opponents are hitting .199 against him. Jeremy Hefner is 8-1 with a 2.85 ERA as well.
Scouting Centenary: The Gents dropped three of four against Valpo in the Mid-Con opener at Emory G. Bauer Field April 20-22. Teddy Saenz leads the way for Centenary hitting .312 while Matt Webb is hitting .309 with seven homers and 24 stolen bases. Brandon Fulenchek is the team's ace, posting an 8-4 record and a 3.29 ERA in 98.1 innings of work.
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. He now has 268 for his career.
Yergin Sets Valpo's Innings Pitched Record: Harvey Yergin's complete game victory against Western Illinois on May 4 allowed him to pass Tim Holmes for Valpo's career innings pitched. Yergin enters the Mid-Con Tournament having hurled 309 innings over four years.
Arensdorff Closing in on Runs Record as Well: Michael Arensdorff has crossed the plate 39 times already this season, giving him 154 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.
Valpo Protects Late Leads: When the Crusaders have taken a lead into the late innings, they have made them stand up. Valpo is 15-1 when leading after six innings this season and a perfect 10-0 when leading after seven or eight frames.
Cawiezell Turns into Valpo's Stopper: Dallas Cawiezell has nine career saves, tied for third most in a Brown and Gold uniform with Adam Paetznick. He has six this year, most in the Mid-Continent Conference.
Mazzone Among Mid-Con's Best: Nick Mazzone is fifth in the Mid-Continent Conference this season with a 3.43 earned run average. The Crusader senior also leads Valpo's pitching staff allowing opponents to hit just .252 against him on the season, also fourth best in the Mid-Con.
Rzepka Holds Team's RBI Lead: Brian Rzepka's 30 runs batted in on the season to lead the Valpo attack. Twice the senior has driven in four runs in a contest on his way to seven multi-RBI games this season.
Yergin Cracks Top-10 in Strikeouts: With his four strikeouts against Southern Utah, Harvey Yergin now has 184 for his career, moving him into ninth place on Valpo's all-time strikeout list. Yergin is two Ks away from tying Chip Pettit for eighth place on the career list.
Arensdorff Third in Career Doubles: Michael Arensdorff is also moving up Valpo's career two-bagger list with 56 career doubles. The fifth-year senior already has 16 doubles this season to lead the team and rank third in the Mid-Con in that category. Arensdorff is tied with Mark Pedersen for second all-time with 56 career doubles and he is two two-baggers shy of Marc Boggio's career mark of 58.
Rzepka Starts Regularly: Brian Rzepka has started 46 games this season for the Crusaders, giving him 202 starting assignments in four years.
Valpo Records Highest Finish Since 2001: Valparaiso's .500 conference finish marks the first time since 2001 the Brown and Gold finished the league loop at least even in wins and losses. The third place finish is also the highest since finishing third that same season.
Valpo in the Mid-Con Tourney: The Crusaders are 13-24 all-time at the Mid-Con Tournament, having advanced to the championship round in 1998 and 1999. This is Valpo's first tourney appearance since 2003.
Win at Oral Roberts First Ever: With Valpo's win at Oral Roberts on April 29, 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 on April 16: 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 Finishes Better Than Preseason Pick: The Crusaders were selected to finish in sixth place in the Mid-Continent Conference preseason poll conducted of the league's head coaches, but finished third overall, in the top half of the league.