Valparaiso (10-19, 0-0 Mid-Con)
Game #30 at Northwestern (9-20, 3-9 Big Ten)
Tues., April 17, 3 p.m. CDT - Evanston, Ill.
Games #31-34 vs. Centenary (16-18, 0-0 Mid-Con)
Fri., April 20, 3 p.m. CDT - Emory G. Bauer Field
Sat., April 21, 12 p.m. CDT (DH) - Emory G. Bauer Field
Sun., April 22, 1 p.m. CDT - Emory G. Bauer Field
This Week in Crusader Baseball: Valparaiso is set to open its final season of Mid-Continent Conference action this weekend as the Crusaders entertain Centenary in a four-game series on Friday through Sunday. Saturday's tilt is a doubleheader. Prior to kicking off league play, the Crusaders will head to Northwestern on Tuesday for a non-conference contest.
On the Air: Tuesday's game at Northwestern will be broadcast live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics. In addition, the student-run radio station plans on carrying both Friday and Sunday's games against Centenary. Saturday's twinbill against the Gents will be carried online at www.sportsjuice.com.
Pitching Rotation: Matt Evans (0-0, 1.17 ERA) will make his first collegiate start on Tuesday afternoon for the Crusaders at Northwestern. The weekend rotation has yet to be set for the Centenary series, but it will include pitchers Nick Mazzone (2-4, 3.28), Harvey Yergin (2-5, 4.23), Elliott Gibbs (2-3, 4.60), and Ranko Ivetic (1-3, 7.94). The game-by-game lineup will be available later in the week.
Wrapping Up Last Week's Action: The Crusaders dropped their first home game of the season last Tuesday afternoon 5-1 to instate foe Indiana State. Valpo bounced back over the weekend, splitting a pair of doubleheaders against North Dakota State. On Saturday, the Bison won the opener 12-4 before Valpo won the nightcap 7-1. In Sunday's twinbill, the Brown and Gold opened as 9-6 victors before falling 9-2 in game two. Nick Mazzone tossed a complete game victory on Saturday, allowing just one run and four hits in the seven innings. Josh Piazza hit .545 (6-for-11) in three starts while Jeff Rickert hit .500 with a .652 on base percentage. Zach Rodeghero also hit .500 with five runs batted in, including a pair of extra base hits.
Scouting Northwestern: The Wildcats snapped a five-game losing skid on Sunday afternoon with a 6-5 victory over Illinois in 10 innings. Antonio Mule leads Northwestern at the plate hitting .364 while Jake Owens is hitting at a .345 clip with a team-leading 20 runs batted in. Dan Schwartz leads the Wildcat pitching staff with his 3-2 record and team-best 3.74 earned run average.
Scouting Centenary: The Gents open Mid-Continent Conference play on the road having played just five games outside of Shreveport, La. all season. Centenary won three out of four games over the weekend against former league foe Chicago State. Matt Webb leads the Mid-Con in hitting, connecting at a .371 pace with a team-leading four homeruns. Calvin Sanchez is batting .358 as well on the top hitting team in the league (.285). On the mound, Brandon Fulenchek anchors the staff with a 5-2 record and a 3.19 ERA. Jeremy Sheehan has also won five games on the year and has a 4.01 ERA.
Rickert Named Mid-Con Player of the Week: Fifth-year senior Jeff Rickert is the reigning Mid-Continent Conference Player of the Week after hitting safely in four of five games last week. 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.
Piazza's Turn to Streak: After seeing teammates Michael Arensdorff and Brian Rzepka each register 12-game hitting streaks earlier this season, catcher Josh Piazza has begun working on one of his own. He enters the week having hit safely in nine straight contests.
Arensdorff Second in the Mid-Con with 44 Hits: Michael Arensdorff's 44 hits on the year rank second in the Mid-Con this season. He is only two hits behind Western Illinois' Brett Pendell for the league's top spot.
Walking Man Also Hits: Jeff Rickert has drawn 21 base on balls in just 29 games this season, the second highest total in the league. Coupled with his .355 batting average, Rickert has been on base at a .455 clip this season.
Opponents Dip Near Mendoza Line against Mazzone: Nick Mazzone, who tossed a four-hit victory against North Dakota State last weekend, has moved into second in the Mid-Con for opponent batting average. The opposition is hitting just .222 against the southpaw in 35.2 innings. Left handers are hitting just .161 against Mazzone, helping to lead to a 3.28 earned run average on the year.
Three Starters Among Mid-Con Leaders: Three members of Valparaiso's starting pitching staff rank among the top eight in the Mid-Continent Conference in earned run average. Nick Mazzone is second in the league with his 3.28 ERA while Harvey Yergin is seventh at 4.23. Eliott Gibbs is eighth in the Mid-Con with a 4.50 ERA.
Cawiezell Turns into Valpo's Stopper: Dallas Cawiezell registered his second save of the season and fifth of his career against North Dakota State. His five saves are tied for 10th most in a Brown and Gold uniform during an individual career.
Arensdorff Third All-Time in Total At Bats: Michael Arensdorff has moved into third place on Valpo's career at bats list with 735. He is just two at bats shy of Mark Pedersen for second place and 26 shy of Marc Boggio's career mark of 761.
Rzepka Also Moves Up At Bats List: Brian Rzepka has moved into sixth place all-time with 655 career at bats following. He is five at bats shy of Rob Hadrick for fourth place in school history.
Arensdorff Closing in on Hits Record: With 44 hits this season, Michael Arensdorff now has 241 for his Valpo career. He is 10 base hits shy of Mark Pederson's school record of 251 and currently sits in third place on the Crusaders' all-time charts. His next hit will tie Marc Boggio for second all-time in a Valpo uniform.
Arensdorff Also Fourth in Career Doubles: Michael Arensdorff also ranks fourth on Valpo's career two-bagger list with 50 career doubles. The fifth-year senior already has 10 doubles this season to lead the team.
Yergin Sixth on Innings Pitched List: Harvey Yergin has moved into sixth place on Valpo's career innings pitched list with 272.2 over his four-year career with the Brown and Gold. With just one more inning he will match Jeff Brooks for fifth place on the career list and with two more will equal Tim Juran's mark in fourth place.
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 doubleheader on May 1 at Emory G. Bauer Field. The start time for the games has been moved up to 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.