Valparaiso (19-19, 7-8 Horizon)
Game #39 vs. Bradley (14-23, 1-11 MVC)
Tuesday, April 28, 3 p.m. CDT - Emory G. Bauer Field
Game #40 at Northern Illinois (15-25, 6-11 MAC)
Wednesday, April 29, 3 p.m. CDT - DeKalb, Ill.
Games #41-43 vs. Youngstown State (11-27, 8-9 Horizon)
Friday, May 1, 3 p.m. CDT - Emory G. Bauer Field
Saturday, May 2, 12 p.m. CDT (DH) - Emory G. Bauer Field
This Week in Crusader Baseball: With three weeks left in the regular season, Valparaiso looks to improve its positioning among the middle of the pack in the Horizon League with five games this week. The Crusaders will step out of conference to host Bradley on Tuesday while travelling to Northern Illinois on Wednesday. The Brown and Gold then will host Youngstown State in a key three-game Horizon League set this weekend.
On the Air: Tuesday’s game against Bradley can be heard live on www.sportsjuice.com, as will Saturday’s doubleheader against Youngstown State. WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) will broadcast Friday’s game against the Penguins over the air and online at www.valpoathletics.com. In addition, live stats via Gametracker will be available through www.valpoathletics.com for every game this week.
Pitching Rotation: John Snelten (RHP, 1-3, 5.79) is slated to toe the rubber for Valpo against Bradley. The Braves have yet to announce their starter for Tuesday’s game. Tyler Deetjen (LHP, 0-1, 4.38) will take to the hill for the Crusaders at Northern Illinois against either Tom Berry (LHP, 2-0, 4.91) or Kyle Glancy (RHP, 0-1, 8.20). In the Youngstown State series, Jon Gulbransen (LHP, 4-5, 5.74), Alex Berry (RHP, 2-5, 4.78), and Bryce Shafer (RHP, 6-2, 3.71) are slated to throw for the Crusaders against the Penguins’ Aaron Swenson (RHP, 3-4, 4.83), Cody Dearth (LHP, 2-3, 4.25), and Phil Klein (RHP, 2-1, 4.53).
Wrapping Up Recent Action: Valpo dropped a 14-12 game at UIC on Saturday in a game that endured three rain delays and a 30 degree temperature drop from the start. The rain forced the cancellation of game two of the twin bill though, as it had done for the scheduled game with Purdue earlier in the week. On Sunday, Wright State won the opening game of the doubleheader 16-1 after taking an 8-0 lead before Valpo responded with a 2-1 win in the nightcap behind the pitching of Bryce Shafer.
Scouting Bradley: The Braves dropped two games to Creighton over the weekend and currently sit in ninth place in the Missouri Valley Conference. Nick Mitidiero leads the team hitting .336 with three homers and 24 runs batted in while Tommy Fitzgerald is a .318 hitter with four long balls. Bradley is hitting .266 as a team. Justin Ziegler has a team-best 3.62 earned run average for a team that his a 5.99 ERA as a staff.
Scouting Northern Illinois: The Huskies dropped two of three last weekend to Eastern Michigan and enter the week in fifth place in the Mid-American Conference West Division. Jordin Hood is hitting a team-leading .397 with seven homers and 33 RBIs while Dave Reynolds has a .390 average for the Huskies, which are hitting .300 as a team. On the mound, Tom Zelasko has a team-best 3.86 ERA and three saves while the NIU pitching staff has posted a 7.21 ERA on the season.
Scouting Youngstown State: The Penguins begin the week in fourth place in the Horizon League, just percentage points ahead of Valpo after splitting a doubleheader at Butler on Sunday. John Koehnlein his hitting a team-leading .325 while Jacke Healey has five homers and 25 RBIs to go along with a .289 average. Youngstown State is hitting .261 as a team while the pitching staff has a 6.66 ERA. Cody Dearth is the team’s top pitcher with a 4.25 ERA in eight starts.
Schedule Changes: The March 31 rainout at Northern Illinois has been rescheduled for April 29 in DeKalb, Ill. beginning at 3 p.m.
Shafer Pitcher of the Week: Bryce Shafer earned Horizon League Pitcher of the Week honors for the second time in his career this week after allowing just one unearned run and nine hits in eight innings in the win at Wright State. He fanned seven and walked just two.
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 a game 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 .427 on the season, and holds a 59-point lead on Milwaukee’s Josh Groves. He also is second in the conference in on base percentage (.492), is third in slugging percentage (.615), is fourth in hits (50), is tied for fourth with 29 runs batted in, and is tied for sixth in homers with five. The senior catcher has 18 multi-hit games in 31 games played, including a four-hit contest and six three-hit tallies.
Shafer Leads the League in Wins: With his sixth victory of the season over the weekend against Wright State, Bryce Shafer remains the Horizon League leader in wins. In his last six starts, Shafer is 4-1 with a 1.51 earned run average in more than 40 innings on the hill.
Settled by the Eighth: Valpo is 13-0 this season when leading after eight innings of play however the Crusaders are 0-17 when trailing after eight innings.
Pitching Ranks as the League’s Best: As a team, Valpo pitchers lead the Horizon League limiting opponents to a .284 average on the season. Crusaders hurlers are tops in the league with a 4.75 earned run average on the year. Valpo’s pitchers also lead the league in saves with 13.
Still Perfect in the Field: Ryan O’Gara has yet to commit an error at first base this season in 190 chances. He leads the team in chances as well as putouts with 177.
Miller Sets All-Time Save Mark: Sophomore Jarad Miller has a league-leading 10 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 19 career saves. His 10 saves this season are just three shy of Justin Craker’s 2001 single season record of 12, and are the second most by a Crusader pitcher in school history.
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.
Streaking: Steven Scoby enters the Bradley game with a team-long nine game hitting streak. Josh Wallace and Kyle Muhlsteff have each hit safely in five straight games for the Crusaders. 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.