Valparaiso (13-25, 5-8 Horizon)
Games #39-40 at Bradley (22-19, 8-7 MVC)
Tue., April 29, 4 p.m. CDT (DH) - Peoria, Ill.
Game #41 vs. IPFW (11-27-1, 7-9 Summit)
Wed., April 30, 3 p.m. CDT - Emory G. Bauer Field
Games #42-44 at Milwaukee (14-26, 6-10 Horizon)
Fri., May 2, 2 p.m. CDT - Milwaukee, Wis.
Sat., May 3, 12 p.m. CDT (DH), - Milwaukee, Wis.
This Week in Crusader Baseball: Valparaiso has a busy week ahead as the Crusaders play three midweek games before a key three-game weekend series in the Horizon League. The Crusaders head to Bradley for a doubleheader on Tuesday and host IPFW on Wednesday before heading to Milwaukee for the Friday-Saturday series. Saturday Valpo and the Panthers will play a twinbill.
On the Air: WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) will broadcast Wednesday’s game against IPFW live online on through www.sportsjuice.com. Tuesday’s game at Bradley and the weekend series at Milwaukee will not be aired at all.
Pitching Rotation: Righthander John Snelten (1-1, 8.64) and southpaw Jon Gulbransen (2-5, 6.49) are slated to take the mound Tuesday for the Crusaders in Peoria, Ill. Bradley will counter with a pair of righties, Eitan Barbalat (2-1, 4.50) and Jon Goebel (1-0, 6.75). On Wednesday, Valpo righthander Alex Berry (1-4, 9.36) is scheduled to pitch against IPFW lefty Ryan VanDriessche (0-2, 12.18). Friday in Milwaukee will see Elliott Gibbs (1-4, 5.35) on the rubber for Valpo against Brad Lusti (2-4, 5.08) in a battle of righthanders. Saturday will match righthanders in both games of the twinbill as well. Valpo will send Bryce Shafer (2-3, 6.71) and Snelten to the hill against Andy Hetebrueg (3-6, 6.75) and Cuyler Franzke (3-0, 3.77).
Wrapping Up Recent Action: Valparaiso won the weekend series against Butler two games to one. The Bulldogs won the opener on Friday 12-10 behind four homers. Brett Bivens went 4-for-5 to lead the Crusaders in the series opener. On Saturday, Valpo rallied from a 13-0 deficit in game one, scored seven times in the ninth, and eventually won the game in the tenth 16-15. Justin Frane went 5-for-6 with four runs batted in while Andrew Quinnette had three homers and six RBIs. The Crusaders took the nightcap 7-5 as Bryce Shafer earned the victory. Jarad Miller earned the win in game one and came on for the save in the second game of the twinbill. Zach Rodeghero had seven hits in 10 at bats on the afternoon for the Brown and Gold.
Scouting Bradley: The Braves have won five straight games and six of their last seven following a four-game weekend sweep of Chicago State last weekend. Dan Brewer leads the offense hitting .362 with four homers and 24 runs batted in. Matt Fritz is hitting .360 while Colby Luttrell has posted a .342 average with a team-leading six homeruns and 39 RBIs.
Scouting IPFW: The Mastodons are coming off of a four-game weekend split against Centenary. Chris Gottschall leads IPFW offensively with a .351 batting average. Jared Davis is hitting at a .345 pace with 16 doubles while Shaun VanDriessch has hit eight homers and driven in 33 runs.
Scouting Milwaukee: The Panthers dropped two of three last weekend at Wright State and have played eight straight games away from home heading into this week. Milwaukee will host Northern Illinois on Tuesday and travel to Northwestern on Wednesday before entertaining the Crusaders. Nick Wichser leads the Panthers hitting .390 with six homers and 40 runs batted in. Shaun Wegner has a .384 average for Milwaukee, which is hitting .301 as a team.
Rodeghero Among Nation’s Top Hitters: Zach Rodeghero entered the last week ranked 22nd in the nation in hitting among all Division I schools batting .424. After this past weekend, he took the lead in the Horizon League at .449. NCAA stats have not been released as of Monday.
Rodeghero Has 18-Game Hitting Streak Alive: Zach Rodeghero enters the week having hit safely in his last 18 games, the second time this season he has put together a streak reaching double digits. He began the streak on March 26 at Purdue and is hitting .547 (41-for-75) over the 18 games with a .733 slugging percentage. Nine of the 18 games have seen Rodeghero record at least three hits.
Giusti and Bivens Have Streaks as Well: Zach Rodeghero is not the only Crusader with a lengthy hitting streak. John Giusti and Brett Bivens have each had their hitting streaks extended to seven straight games, the longest this year for both players.
Getting the Runs In: Justin Frane is tied for first in the Horizon League with six sacrifice flies this season.
Four Crusaders Named Horizon League Player of the Week This Season: With Elliott Gibbs earning Horizon League Pitcher of the Week honors on March 31, he became the fourth Crusader to earn the honor this season. Josh Wallace was named the conference’s Player of the Week on March 18. Zach Rodeghero was the Player of the Week on February 26 and Bryce Shafer was the Pitcher of the Week on March 4.
Godawa Good Against League Foes: In eight relief appearances against Horizon League competition, Steve Godawa has not allowed a run and has a 1-0 record. He has fanned six in 7.2 innings while opponents are hitting just .074 against him.
Giusti Moving Up Assists List: Infielder John Giusti currently ranks fifth all-time in Crusader history with 373 career assists over four years. He is just five short of moving into third place on the all-time list. Dale Polonus is fourth with 375 assists while Jeff Rickert had 378 during his career with the Brown and Gold. Mark Boggio is second with 387 assists.
Welcome Back Giusti: Since returning to the lineup on April 16 against Saint Francis (Ill.) from a hand injury, senior John Giusti is hitting .667 (16-for-24) with 10 runs scored. He had four hits in the series opener against Butler and two in each of the other games this weekend.
Quinnette Goes Deep: After having hit just one homerun all season, Andrew Quinnette went yard three times in game one of Saturday’s doubleheader. He finished the game with six total RBIs, giving him 22 now on the season.
What a Comeback: Valpo trailed Butler 13-0 through 4 1/2 innings of game one of Saturday’s doubleheader before mounting one of the best comebacks in school history. A seven-run ninth inning tied the game at 15 and the Crusaders won the game with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 10th.
Walking Men: Valparaiso has drawn 157 base on balls already this season as a team, 10 more than any other team in the Horizon League. Jason Brunelli is tied for third in the league drawing 19 walks while Zach Rodeghero is tied for sixth with 18 free passes. Last season, in 56 total games, the Crusaders only drew 159 total walks.
Rodeghero Enjoying Conference Pitching: In 13 games against Horizon League foes, Zach Rodeghero is hitting .491 (28-for-57) with three homers and 13 runs batted in. He has a .737 slugging percentage as well.
Miller Saves the Day: Freshman Jarad Miller is at the top of the Horizon League lead with five saves this season. The rookie needs just one more to move into the top-10 all-time for a career with the Brown and Gold. He recorded both a win and a save on Saturday, and leads Valpo with three victories this season.
DeBruin Feasts on Lefties: Dan DeBruin is hitting .400 (14-for-35) this season against southpaws. Overall he is hitting .308 in his first season playing every day.
Rodeghero Comes Through in the Clutch: Zach Rodeghero not only is second in the league in hitting, but has gotten the key hits when it counts. The senior is hitting .529 (27-for-51) with runners in scoring position and has been even better with runners on third and less than two outs (13-for-17, .765).
Liking the Bases Juiced: Brett Bivens is hitting .800 (4-for-5) with the bases loaded this season.
Valpo Tabbed Seventh: The Crusaders were picked to finish seventh in the Horizon League preseason poll, with Wright State being the preseason favorite.