Valparaiso (15-15, 5-4 Horizon)
Game #31 vs. Anderson (15-12, 5-6 HCAC)
Wednesday, April 15, 4 p.m. CDT - Emory G. Bauer Field
Games #32-34 vs. Wright State (15-19, 4-5 Horizon)
Friday, April 17, 3 p.m. CDT - Emory G. Bauer Field
Saturday, April 18 (DH), 12 p.m. CDT - Emory G. Bauer Field
Game #35 vs. Saint Francis (Ind.) (22-14, 9-3 MCC)
Sunday, April 15, 1 p.m. CDT - Emory G. Bauer Field
This Week in Crusader Baseball: Valparaiso continues what has turned into a 10-game homestand this week with five more games between Wednesday and Sunday at Emory G. Bauer Field. The Crusaders will host Anderson on Wednesday and face Wright State in a three-game series on Friday and Saturday before wrapping up the weekend hosting Saint Francis (Ind.) on Sunday.
On the Air: Wednesday’s game against Anderson will not be broadcast. The Friday and Saturday games against the Raiders as well as Sunday’s game against the Cougars can be heard live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at www.valpoathletics.com. In addition, live stats via Gametracker will be available through www.valpoathletics.com.
Pitching Rotation: Wednesday, John Snelten (RHP, 0-3, 7.36) is slated to pitch for the Crusaders against Anderson. The Ravens have not named their starter yet. For the weekend series against Wright State, Alex Berry (RHP, 2-4, 4.66), Jon Gulbransen (LHP, 4-3, 4.69), and Bryce Shafer (RHP, 4-2, 4.69) are slated to pitch for the Crusaders, although the order has not been determined yet. Wright State is tentatively going with Alex Kaminsky (RHP, 2-2, 3.38), Rylan Ostrosky (RHP, 3-3, 4.11), and Michael Woytek (RHP, 2-2, 5.27), but the order also has not been determined. On Sunday, Snelten may throw again for Valpo against Saint Francis, who is tentatively going to counter with Greg Kerro (RHP, 2-2, 5.14).
Wrapping Up Recent Action: Valpo began the week dropping a 9-5 decision to Indiana last Tuesday afternoon. The Crusaders then returned to Emory G. Bauer Field, and won five straight games. Valpo swept a twinbill from North Dakota 3-2 and 2-1 on Friday, winning in 12 innings in the nightcap. On Saturday, the Crusaders again took two from the Fighting Sioux, winning 6-5 in 10 innings in the opener before posting a 5-0 shutout in game two. On Monday against Grace, the Crusaders scored nine times in the first three innings on the way to a 12-0 blanking. Tuesday’s game at IPFW was cancelled due to steady rains in Fort Wayne, Ind.
Scouting Anderson: The Ravens have dropped four straight games following a three-game sweep at the hands of Transylvania last weekend. Prior to the setbacks, Anderson had won six of its last seven games. Jeremy Hazen leads the team hitting .460 with six homers and 27 runs batted in. Greg Vogt leads the pitching staff with a 3-0 record and a 2.95 earned run average.
Scouting Wright State: The Raiders enter this week on the heels of a three-game sweep in Milwaukee last weekend. Wright State does have a win over #1 Georgia this season, and has played the number one team in the country five times this year. Jeff Mercer leads the Raiders offensively hitting .359 with 38 RBIs. Jordan Marker has posted a 1.86 ERA out of the bullpen in 13 appearances for a pitching staff that has a 5.59 team ERA.
Scouting Saint Francis: The Cougars enter the week winners of 11 straight games and 13 of their last 14 overall. Jon Saporsantos leads the team offensively hitting .417 with 25 runs batted in while Travis Potchka is hitting .380 on the year. On the mound, Bart Schnur has a team-leading six wins while Matt Degitz is 5-0 with a 1.17 ERA.
Schedule Changes In Effect: Valpo has added a game to the schedule on Wednesday afternoon when the Crusaders host Anderson. Tuesday’s cancellation at IPFW will not be made up. The March 31 rainout at Northern Illinois has been rescheduled for April 29 in DeKalb, Ill. beginning at 3 p.m.
Home Sweet Home: Valpo is 7-1 at Emory G. Bauer Field this season, where the Crusaders will play their next five games. Valpo still has 15 games scheduled for its home park this year, and finished 10-6 at home one year ago.
Winning Extra Inning Games: Valparaiso won both games that went extra innings last weekend, its first two walk-off victories of the season. The Crusaders have won five straight extra inning contests dating back to the 2008 campaign.
Winning Streak Longest Since 2007: Valpo’s five-game winning streak is the longest for a Crusader team since May of 2007 when the Brown and Gold swept a four-game weekend series against Southern Utah and then won the opening game of the Mid-Continent Conference Tournament at Western Illinois. Ironically, that four-game series sweep was the last for a Crusader team until Valpo took all four games from North Dakota last weekend.
Lenski Leads the League in Hitting: Matt Lenski entered the week leading the Horizon League in batting, hitting .415 on the season, holding a 40-point lead on Cleveland State’s Josh Lowe. He added to his average on Monday going 3-for-3 to raise his average up to .435. He also has a team-leading 25 runs batted in and 37 hits on the season. The senior catcher has 13 multi-hit games, including a four-hit contest and four three-hit tallies.
Quite a Weekend Rotation: Valpo’s weekend rotation of Alex Berry, Jon Gulbransen, and Bryce Shafer have combined for 10 of the Crusaders’ 15 victories this season. All three starters have an ERA between 4.66 and 4.69, with Shafer leading the way with 45 strikeouts.
Pitching Among League’s Best: As a team, Valpo pitchers lead the Horizon League limiting opponents to a .276 average on the season. Crusaders hurlers also lead the conference allowing just 84 walks and are second in the league with a 4.77 earned run average on the year.
Quinnette Feasting on League Pitching: Andrew Quinnette has hit .500 (8-for-16) in the five Horizon League contests he has played in this year. He has driven in a team-leading seven runs against conference foes and has three doubles and a homer for an .875 slugging percentage.
Miller Sets All-Time Save Mark: Sophomore Jarad Miller has a league-leading seven saves this season and with his save in the opener at Cleveland State on April 4, set Valpo’s career save record. He now has 16 career saves.
Sweeping Twinbills: Valparaiso has swept five doubleheaders already this season, after taking both twinbills against North Dakota on Friday and Saturday. The Crusaders have also recorded sweeps against Morehead State, Arkansas-Little Rock, and Milwaukee. Valpo managed to sweep just one doubleheader in all of 2008.
A Solid Job Off of the Bench: Valpo pinch hitters are doing their job, hitting .389 (7-for-18) on the season. Ranko Ivetic has three hits for the Crusaders in seven pinch-hitting appearances while David Klein is 2-for-3.
Streaking: Billy Cribbs enters the Anderson game with the team’s longest current hitting streak at four consecutive games. Kyle Gaedele and Matt Lenski share the team’s longest streak on the season, having each hit safely in 10 straight games earlier this year.