Valparaiso (17-32, 6-10 Mid-Con)
Games #50-53 vs. Southern Utah (11-41, 6-10 Mid-Con)
Fri., May 18, 3 p.m. CDT - Emory G. Bauer Field
Sat., May 19, 12 p.m. CDT (DH) - Emory G. Bauer Field
Sun., May 20, 9:30 a.m. CDT - Emory G. Bauer Field
This Weekend in Crusader Baseball: Valparaiso wraps up the 2007 regular season at Emory G. Bauer Field this weekend with a key Mid-Continent Conference four-game series against Southern Utah. Both schools are currently among a three-way tie for third place in the league standings, with the top four teams qualifying for next week's Mid-Con Tournament.
On the Air: Friday's single game and Saturday's doubleheader can be heard live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics. Sunday's season finale can be heard live online at www.sportsjuice.com.
Pitching Rotation: Valparaiso will send left-hander Nick Mazzone (3-6, 3.57 ERA) to the mound in the series opener on Friday against Southern Utah's right-hander Mac Nelson (2-8, 7.00). In Saturday's twinbill, the opener will feature a pair of righties, with the Crusaders' Harvey Yergin (4-6, 4.77) facing Dustin Wittwer (1-6, 7.45). The nightcap will be a battle of southpaws as Matt Evans (2-2, 2.64) takes to the hill for the Brown and Gold opposite of the Thunderbirds' Alec Reichle (3-2, 2.93). Valpo is still undecided on Sunday's starter in the season finale while Southern Utah will counter with Derek Job (0-9, 9.21).
Wrapping Up This Week's Action: The Crusaders were rained out on Tuesday afternoon when Indiana came to town. The game was just two batters old when the tarp was put on the field and severe storms and heavy rain prevented the game from resuming. On Wednesday, Purdue jumped out to a 3-0 lead and banged out 14 hits on the way to a 7-2 victory over Valpo in the non-conference finale for the Crusaders. Ryan Manthei homered for the Brown and Gold and scored twice while Brian Rzepka drove home the other run.
Scouting Southern Utah: The Thunderbirds enter the weekend set having dropped five of their last six games overall following a 9-5 loss at UNLV on Tuesday evening. Southern Utah is just 4-31 on the road in 2007. Bucky Aona leads the team and is sixth in the Mid-Con hitting .341 on the year. Cameron Nelson is hitting at a .326 with a team-leading seven homers and 30 runs batted in. As a team, Southern Utah is hitting .271 while the pitching staff has a 7.95 earned run average.
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 265 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 tossed another 5.2 innings last week against Oakland, surpassing the 300 inning mark with 300.1 all-time.
Arensdorff Closing in on Runs Record as Well: Michael Arensdorff has crossed the plate 35 times already this season, giving him 150 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 Hangs Around in Mid-Con Batting Race: Michael Arensdorff's .343 batting average on the year ranks fifth in the Mid-Continent Conference this season. The fifth-year senior trails league leader Andrew Stafford, who is hitting .360, among others, heading into the final weekend of the regular season.
Senior Day Set for Saturday against Southern Utah: Valparaiso will honor its 2007 senior class on Saturday afternoon as part of Senior Day activities against Southern Utah. Nick Mazzone, Brian Rzepka, Jeff Rickert, Ryan Manthei, Colin Reynolds, Josh Piazza, Michael Arensdorff, and Harvey Yergin will all be taking part in their final regular season games this weekend wearing the Brown and Gold.
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 9-0 when leading after seven or eight frames.
Cawiezell Turns into Valpo's Stopper: Dallas Cawiezell has eight career saves, tied for fourth most in a Brown and Gold uniform during an individual career with Chip Pettit. He has five this year, tied for third in the Mid-Con.
Mazzone Among Mid-Con's Best: Nick Mazzone is fifth in the Mid-Continent Conference this season with a 3.57 earned run average. The Crusader senior also leads Valpo's pitching staff allowing opponents to hit just .247 against him on the season, also fourth best in the Mid-Con.
Brunelli Likes Mid-Con Pitching: Jason Brunelli has enjoyed hitting against conference foes this season, posting a .390 batting average against the Mid-Con. In addition to three homers, the redshirt-junior has added a .510 on base average and a .610 slugging percentage in 13 league games.
Rzepka Holds Team's RBI Lead: Brian Rzepka's 29 runs batted in on the season 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 two strikeouts at Oakland, Harvey Yergin now has 180 for his career, matching Sean Galiher for ninth place all-time in a Brown and Gold uniform. Yergin is six 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 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.
Rzepka Starts Regularly: Brian Rzepka has started 45 games this season for the Crusaders, giving him 201 starting assignments in four years.
Mid-Con Tournament Draws Near: With just one weekend (four 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 three-way tie for third place in the league standings, with the top for teams qualifying for Macomb, Ill. May 24-26. Valpo will need to win at least two games against Southern Utah this weekend to extend its season.
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.