Valparaiso (18-17, 6-6 Horizon)
Game #36 vs. Purdue (16-18, 5-6 Big Ten)
Tuesday, April 21, 7 p.m. CDT - U.S. Steel Yard, Gary
Games #37-38 at UIC (16-17, 10-2 Horizon)
Saturday, April 25 (DH), 1:05 p.m. CDT - Chicago, Ill.
Games #39-40 at Wright State (18-21, 6-6 Horizon)
Sunday, April 26 (DH), 12 p.m. CDT - Dayton, Ohio
This Week in Crusader Baseball: After playing six games last week, Valparaiso will play another five this week beginning with a Tuesday evening affair against Purdue at the U.S. Steel Yard in Gary, Ind. The Crusaders then head to Chicago on Saturday for a doubleheader against UIC before traveling to Dayton, Ohio on Sunday for a twinbill against Wright State.
On the Air: Tuesday’s game against Purdue can be heard live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at www.valpoathletics.com. Saturday’s games at UIC and Sunday’s games at Wright State will not be broadcast. In addition, live stats via Gametracker will be available through www.valpoathletics.com for every game this week.
Pitching Rotation: On Tuesday evening, Valparaiso will send senior John Snelten (RHP, 1-3, 5.79 ERA) to the mound for his fifth start of the season. Purdue will counter with junior Drew Wurdack (RHP, 1-1, 7.45 ERA), who will be making his third start for the Boilermakers. The rotation for UIC and Wright State has yet to be determined.
Wrapping Up Recent Action: Valpo extended its winning streak to six straight games on Wednesday afternoon as the Crusaders defeated Anderson in a game that was added to the schedule late because of rain outs. Valpo dropped the opener of the weekend series with Wright State on Friday 8-1 before splitting Saturday’s twinbill. The Raiders won the opener 6-2 before the Crusaders exploded for six runs in the opening inning of the night cap on the way to a 14-1 win. On Sunday, Valpo topped Saint Francis (Ind.) 6-5.
Scouting Purdue: The Boilermakers enter Tuesday’s game looking to snap a three-game losing skid after being swept by Ohio State over the weekend. Purdue currently sits in fifth place in the Big Ten. Brandon Havemen leads the Purdue offense hitting .390 on the season while Eric Charles is hitting at a .376 pace. Dan Black provides the long ball threat with 12 homers and 39 runs batted in for a team that is hitting .306 overall. On the mound, Purdue pitchers have posted a 6.22 earned run average with opponents hitting .312 against them.
Scouting UIC: The Flames enter the week leading the Horizon League, but have lost two straight games following a brief two-game set at Creighton last weekend. Jason Ganek leads the UIC offensive attack hitting .325 while Andy Leonard is hitting at a .321 clip. Jake Carr has a team-best four homers and 21 runs batted in for a team hitting .268 overall. On the mound, Adam Worthington has posted a 2.66 earned run average in eight starts while closer Derek Miramontes is 4-0 with six saves and a 1.67 ERA.
Scouting Wright State: The Raiders enter this week having taken two out of three from Valparaiso last weekend. Jeff Mercer is leading the Wright State offense hitting .369 with 40 runs batted in. Michael Schum, the Raiders’ closer, leads the team with a 1.62 ERA in 22 appearances and has eight saves on the season. As a team, Wright State is hitting .286 while the pitching staff has posted a 5.41 ERA. The Raiders are currently in a tie for third place with the Crusaders in the Horizon League standings.
Schedule Changes: 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 10-3 at Emory G. Bauer Field this season after finishing 10-6 there one year ago. Valpo still has 10 games scheduled for its home park this year, in addition to two games in Gary at the U.S. Steel Yard.
Lenski Leads the League in Hitting: Matt Lenski entered the week leading the Horizon League in batting, hitting .429 on the season, and holds a 60-point lead on Wright State’s Jeff Mercer. He added to his average last week, hitting .478 (11-for-23) in six games. He also leads the conference in on base percentage (.487), is second in slugging percentage (.600), is tied for third in hits (45), is tied for fourth with 28 runs batted in, and is tied for ninth in homers with four. The senior catcher has 16 multi-hit games in 28 games played, including a four-hit contest and five three-hit tallies.
Shafer Leads the League in Wins: With his fifth victory of the season over the weekend against Wright State, Bryce Shafer has taken the Horizon League lead in wins. The sophomore has nine wins in his career at Valpo, and the five wins this year match the most by a Crusader hurler since Marc Boggio won six games during the 2003 season.
Getting it Done Late: Valpo is 12-0 this season when leading after eight innings of play.
Pitching Among League’s Best: As a team, Valpo pitchers lead the Horizon League limiting opponents to a .274 average on the season. Crusaders hurlers also are second in the league with a 4.57 earned run average on the year.
Still Perfect in the Field: Ryan O’Gara has yet to commit an error at first base this season in 173 chances. He leads the team in chances as well as putouts with 160.
Seven in the Magic Number: Valparaiso is a perfect 9-0 this season when the Crusaders score seven runs or more in a game.
Miller Sets All-Time Save Mark: Sophomore Jarad Miller has a league-leading nine 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 18 career saves. His nine saves this season are just three shy of Justin Craker’s 2001 single season record of 12.
Winning Extra Inning Games: Valparaiso won both games that went extra innings against North Dakota, its first two walk-off victories of the season. The Crusaders have won five straight extra inning contests dating back to the 2008 campaign.
Sweeping Twinbills: Valparaiso has swept five doubleheaders already this season, after taking both twinbills against North Dakota. 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 .368 (7-for-19) on the season. Ranko Ivetic has three hits for the Crusaders in seven pinch-hitting appearances while David Klein is 2-for-3.
Streaking: Ryan O’Gara enters the Purdue game with a team-long seven game hitting streak. Steven Scoby has hit safely in six straight games for the Crusaders after recording a seven-game streak earlier this season. 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.