Valparaiso (5-15, 0-0 Horizon)
Game #21 vs. Central Michigan (10-9, 2-1 MAC)
Tuesday, Mar. 30, 3 p.m. CDT - Emory G. Bauer Field
Games #22-24 vs. Chicago State (1-11, 0-0 GWC)
Friday, Apr. 2, 3 p.m. CDT - Emory G. Bauer Field
Saturday, Apr. 3, 12 p.m. CDT (DH) - Emory G. Bauer Field
This Week in Crusader Baseball: Valparaiso opens the home portion of the 2010 baseball season this week with a five-game homestand beginning with a Tuesday afternoon contest against Central Michigan. The Crusaders will then host Chicago State for three games over the weekend, including a doubleheader on Saturday.
On the Air: Tuesday’s game against Central Michigan will not be carried on the radio or online. All three games against Chicago State will be broadcast live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) as well as online through www.valpoathletics.com. Live stats will be available for all four games this week as well through www.valpoathletics.com.
Pitching Rotation: A pair of right-handers will take to the mound on Tuesday as the Crusaders face Central Michigan. Bryce Shafer (RHP, 2-2, 5.62) will take to the hill for Valpo against the Chippewas’ Bryce Morrow (RHP, 0-0, 9.45). Damon McCormick (RHP, 2-0, 5.48) is slated to take the ball on Friday against Chicago State while Jon Gulbransen (LHP, 1-2, 3.03) and Tyler Deetjen (LHP, 0-0, 11.05) are the scheduled starters for the twinbill on Saturday. Chicago State has not announced its starters yet.
Head Coach Tracy Woodson: Tracy Woodson is now in his fourth season at the helm of the Brown and Gold. A former World Series champion with the 1988 Los Angeles Dodgers, Woodson has a 76-108 record both at Valpo and for his career.
Wrapping Up Last Week’s Action: The Crusaders were suppose to open Horizon League play with a three-game series at Wright State, but the games were cancelled due to rain, snow, and wet grounds in the Dayton, Ohio area. The games will not be made up. With the cancellations, the Crusaders will have gone 10 days between games.
Scouting Central Michigan: The Chippewas enter Tuesday’s game having won three of their last four contests, including taking two out of three to open Mid-American Conference play last weekend at Miami (Ohio). Nate Theunissen leads the Central Michigan offense hitting .358 with two homers and 12 runs batted in while Billy Anderson is hitting .351 on the year. The Chippewas are hitting .265 as a team while the pitching staff has posted a 4.26 earned run average.
Scouting Chicago State: The Cougars have dropped five straight games after being swept in a three-game set at Purdue last weekend. Chicago State plays at Illinois State on Tuesday and at Illinois on Wednesday before heading to Valpo.
Game Added to the Schedule: The Crusaders have added a non-conference game to the schedule on April 14. Valpo will host Indiana-Northwest at Emory G. Bauer Field with the first pitch slated for 3 p.m.
Frane a Streaky Hitter: Justin Frane has all of his hits bunched together this season. Currently in the midst of a seven-game hitting streak, Frane is batting .386 for the Brown and Gold this year. His other hits this year came during his first five-game hitting streak of the year.
Heinkel Makes Most of His Starts: Paul Heinkel has drawn nine starting assignments for the Brown and Gold this season. In his starts, the redshirt-sophomore is hitting .448 with six runs batted in.
Tough on Lefties: Right-hander Will Robinson has been tough on left-handed hitters this season. In his first year as a Division I hurler, Robinson has allowed lefties to hit just .179 (5-for-28) against him on the year.
Errors Prove Costly: Defensive miscues have led to quite a few opponent runs thus far this season. Valpo has made 38 errors on the year, leading to 49 unearned runs (2.5 per game). Every pitcher except Will Hagel and Tyler Deetjen have fallen victim, as those two are the only hurlers not to allow an unearned run yet this year.
Gulbransen Solid on the Hill: Jon Gulbransen ranks third in the Horizon League with a 3.03 earned run average this season, while ranking eighth with opponents hitting just .277 against the southpaw. Gulbransen’s 35 strikeouts lead the conference, as do his 35.2 innings pitched.
Gaedele Does a Little of Everything: Kyle Gaedele ranks among the Horizon League leaders in six different categories. The sophomore is second in the league lead in steals (6-for-6), ranks third in runs scored (22), is fifth in hits (28) and runs batted in (22), is tied for fourth in triples (2), and is tied for seventh in doubles (6). Gaedele is hitting .337 on the year for the Crusaders as well.
Shafer Nearing Career Top-10 Lists: Bryce Shafer needs just three more victories to move into a tie with eight others for 10th place on the Valpo career win list. He currently has 13 victories in two-plus seasons with the Brown and Gold. Shafer also needs just 19 more strikeouts to match Sean Galiher’s 10th place career total of 180. Shafer enters the weekend with 161 strikeouts.
Pencil Them in the Lineup: Kyle Gaedele has batted third in every game this year while Ryan O’Gara has played first base and hit cleanup in each game.
Hitting Streaks: Ryan O’Gara has the season’s longest hitting streak at 12 for the Crusaders. The streak actually reached 14 straight games if you include the final two games from last 2009. Kyle Gaedele ran his hitting streak to nine earlier this year as well. Justin Frane enters this weekend with the longest active streak, having hit safely in his last seven games.
Miller a Preseason All-American: Closer Jarad Miller was named to the Louisville Slugger NCAA Division I Preseason All-American Third Team as well as the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association Stopper of the Year Award initial watch list. He earned Third Team All-America honors as a sophomore last year. With two saves this season, Miller now has a school-record 28 for his career.
Win #1100: Valparaiso picked up the 1,100th career victory in school history earlier this season with its 17-13 triumph over Saint Bonaventure on March 2.
O’Gara Earns Player of the Week Honors: Ryan O’Gara was named the Horizon League’s Batter of the Week on March 1 after hitting .563 (9-for-16) with two doubles, a homer, four runs scored, and seven runs batted in at the Jacksonville Tournament. He also posted an .875 slugging percentage.
Valpo Tabbed Fifth: The Crusaders were picked to finish fourth in the Horizon League preseason poll, according to the league’s head coaches. Valpo finished fourth in the regular season last year as well. Wright State is the preseason favorite this year after winning the Horizon League Tournament and earning a NCAA Tournament berth last year. Last year’s regular season champion UIC is tabbed second followed by Milwaukee and Valpo.
Horizon League Tournament Comes to Northwest Indiana: Valparaiso will host the 2010 Horizon League Baseball Championship May 26-30 at U.S. Steel Yard in Gary, Ind. The double elimination tournament will feature the top six teams in the conference based upon regular season play.