Baseball Set to Open Home Slate This Weekend against Chicago State and South Dakota State
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Valparaiso (2-11, 0-0 Mid-Con)
Games #14-16 vs. Chicago State (0-18, Independent)
Fri., March 23 (DH), 12 p.m. - Emory G. Bauer Field
Sat., March 24, 9 a.m. - Emory G. Bauer Field
Games #17-18 vs. South Dakota St. (9-11, Independent)
Sat., March 24, 3 p.m. - Emory G. Bauer Field
Sun., March 25, 12 p.m. - Emory G. Bauer Field

This Week in Crusader Baseball:
Valparaiso opens up the home portion of the 2007 schedule this weekend as the Crusaders entertain Chicago State for three games and South Dakota State for a pair. In addition, the Cougars and Jackrabbits will meet at noon on Saturday in a neutral site affair at Emory G. Bauer Field.

On the Air: All five of Valpo's games this weekend will be broadcast live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) as well as online at Valpo students will be providing both the play-by-play and color commentary for the games.

Pitching Rotation: Nick Mazzone (LHP, 0-3, 4.00 ERA) is set to pitch the opening game of Friday's twinbill against the Cougars with Elliott Gibbs (RHP, 0-2, 8.44) slated to go in the nightcap. On Saturday, freshman Ranko Ivetic (LHP, 0-1, 10.50) gets the call in the morning against Chicago State while Dallas Cawiezell (RHP, 1-1, 7.84) toes the rubber in the afternoon against South Dakota State. In the weekend finale against the Jackrabbits, Harvey Yergin (RHP, 0-1, 3.32) is slated to pitch.

Scouting Chicago State: The Cougars are looking for their first victory of the season after falling to Northern Illinois on Tuesday in their home opener. Chicago State plays at Eastern Illinois on Wednesday before heading to Valpo. Luke Grow leads the way offensively for the Cougars hitting .300 with five runs batted in. Jonathon Wilson has hit .291 with five doubles and eight RBIs in the first 18 games of the season. On the mound, Robert Vargas leads the team with a 6.11 ERA and 21 strikeouts.

Scouting South Dakota State: The Jackrabbits come to Valpo having won the final game of a three-game set with Missouri State 6-3 on Sunday afternoon. South Dakota State is in the midst of a 23-game stretch to open the year away for Brookings, S.D. Tyson Fisher is hitting .367 while Craig Parry has hit at a .345 clip with 11 RBIs. Nick Adams has four homers and 16 RBIs on the year.

Wrapping Up Recent Action: The Crusaders have scored just one run in each of their last two games, and wrapped up their season-opening 13-game road trip with a 4-1 loss at Richmond on Saturday and a 5-1 defeat at Illinois State on Tuesday afternoon. Against the Spiders, Valpo struck first as Zach Rodeghero doubled home Michael Arensdorff in the top of the first. The Spiders scored in the fifth, sixth, and seventh while keeping the Crusaders off the board the rest of the way. Nick Mazzone started and suffered the loss, working 6.1 innings allowing three runs and seven hits. At Illinois State, Brian Rzepka singled home Arensdorff to tie the game in the top of the sixth, but a three run bottom of the inning was the difference for the Redbirds. Harvey Yergin worked six innings allowing four runs, three earned, and 10 hits in the loss.

Arensdorff a Consistent Hitter: Fifth-year senior Michael Arensdorff can be counted on for a hit in almost every game. He started the season with a nine-game hitting streak, only to see it snapped at North Carolina State. He picked up the next game where he left off though, and has hit in the last three contests, giving him hits in 12 of the 13 games this season.

Rzepka Swings Hot Bat: Brian Rzepka has been swinging a hot bat of late. The senior has hit safely in five straight games dating back to game two of the twinbill against Bowling Green. Rzepka missed two games during the stretch due to injury.

Rickert and Rodeghero Rack Up Four-Hit Games: Jeff Rickert has tallied a pair of four-hit efforts already this season while Zach Rodeghero also added four hits in a contest. Rickert went 4-for-4 at Longwood while also accomplishing the feat against Bowling Green. Rodeghero went 4-for-6 in the 15-3 win against IPFW.

Rzepka Drives in Four in Season Opener: Brian Rzepka drove in four runs in the Crusaders' season opener at Longwood. The senior leads the team with eight RBIs on the year.

Evans Nearly Unhittable Out of the Pen: Freshman Matt Evans has allowed just one single in four appearances out of the bullpen for Valpo thus far this season. In 4.2 innings of work, opponents are hitting just .071 against him.

Mazzone Bears Down With Runners on Base: Nick Mazzone has pitched with runners on base 33 times this season but has been successful in getting out of jams. He has allowed just seven hits with runners on base, a .212 mark. Mazzone leads Valpo with 13 strikeouts in 18.0 innings and opponents are hitting just .257 on the year against him.

Brunelli Posts Solid Start in Part Time Action: Jason Brunelli has appeared in seven games, making five starts for the Crusaders in the outfield. He is hitting .294 with a .429 on base percentage.

Walking Down to First: Jeff Rickert has already drawn 10 base on balls in 13 games for the Brown and Gold. His .431 on base percentage is tops on the squad.

Reynolds Flawless in the Field: Colin Reynolds has not committed an error in 63 chances this season, the second highest total on the team. Reynolds has appeared at first base and right field after playing third base most of last season.

Cawiezell Does His Job with Runners in Scoring Position: Dallas Cawiezell is hitting .412 (7-for-17) with runners in scoring position. He is a perfect 4-for-4 in driving in a runner that is on third base with less than two outs this season.

Arensdorff Fourth All-Time in Total At Bats: Michael Arensdorff has moved into fourth place on Valpo's career at bats list with 669. He is just 92 at bats shy of Marc Boggio's career mark of 761. Arensdorff has 57 at bats already this season and is averaging over 190 at bats in each of the last three years.

Rzepka Also Moves Up At Bats List: Brian Rzepka has moved into ninth place all-time with 604 career at bats following his 42 this season. He is three at bats shy of Dale Polonus for eighth place in school history.

Arensdorff Closing in on Hits Record: With 21 hits this season, Michael Arensdorff now has 218 for his Valpo career. He is 33 base hits shy of Mark Pederson's school record of 251 and currently sits in fourth place on the Crusaders' all-time charts.

Arensdorff Also Fourth in Career Doubles: Michael Arensdorff also ranks fourth on Valpo's career two-bagger list with 46 career doubles. The fifth-year senior already has six doubles this season to lead the team, a number that is tied for third in the Mid-Continent Conference.

Yergin Ninth on Innings Pitched List: Harvey Yergin has moved into eighth place on Valpo's career innings pitched list with 242.2 over his four-year career with the Brown and Gold. With 4.2 innings this weekend he will pass Chuck Donley and Joe Lazewski and move into sixth place on the career list.

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.