Valpo to Meet Northwestern and Butler on the Diamond This Week
David Klein and Valpo remain in Northwest Indiana all week. (Ray Acevedo)
Valpo to Meet Northwestern and Butler on the Diamond This Week
Monday, May 03, 2010

Valparaiso (18-24, 6-5 Horizon)
Game #43 vs. Northwestern (18-25, 9-6 Big Ten)
Tuesday, May 4, 7 p.m. CDT - U. S. Steel Yard
Games #44-46 vs. Butler (15-22, 6-10 Horizon)
Friday, May 7, 3 p.m. CDT - Emory G. Bauer Field
Saturday, May 8, 12 p.m. (DH) - Emory G. Bauer Field

This Week in Crusader Baseball: Valparaiso returns to U. S. Steel  Yard in Gary, Ind. on Tuesday evening for the third time this year to battle Northwestern.  The Crusaders will then return home to Emory G. Bauer Field on Friday and Saturday for a three-game Horizon League series against instate rival Butler.

On the Air:  The game against Northwestern will not be carried online or over the air.  All three games against Butler will be broadcast live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at www.valpoathletics.com.  Live stats will also be available for every game this week through www.valpoathletics.com.

Pitching Rotation: On Tuesday evening the Crusaders will send Tyler Deetjen (LHP, 2-2, 6.18) to the mound while the Wildcats will counter with Joe Muraski (RHP, 0-5, 6.59).  Friday against Butler, Valpo will send Jon Gulbransen (LHP, 4-3, 3.77) to the hill.  In Saturday’s twinbill, Bryce Shafer (RHP, 5-4, 4.34) and Damon McCormick (RHP, 4-1, 5.83) are scheduled to start for the Crusaders.  Butler had not announced its weekend rotation as of Monday afternoon.

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 89-117 record both at Valpo and for his career. 

Wrapping Up Recent Action: The Crusaders fell at U. S. Steel Yard in Gary on Wednesday 8-1 against Notre Dame to open up the week.  Valpo cruised to a 17-3 victory in game one of the weekend series on Friday against Milwaukee before dropping Saturday’s doubleheader.  In game one the Panthers tied the game with two outs and two strikes in the ninth before winning it 7-5 in 11 innings, then shutout the Brown and Gold 3-0 in the night cap.

Scouting Northwestern: The Wildcats won have won three of their last four games after taking two of three at Illinois over the weekend.  Paul Snieder leads Northwestern hitting .387 while Chris Lashmet has a team high 32 runs batted in.  As a team the Wildcats are batting .300 while the pitching staff has a 5.46 earned run average.

Scouting Butler: The Bulldogs have been idle since April 25 but will play at Indianapolis on Tuesday and at Illinois on Wednesday before visiting Valpo.  Butler had won five straight prior to a rain-shortened six inning loss at  Youngstown State.  Grant Fillipitch leads the Bulldog offense batting .385 with six homers and 34 RBIs.  As a team Butler is hitting .316 while the pitching staff has a 7.44 earned run average.

Last Year vs. Northwestern and Butler: The Crusaders and Wildcats met at U. S. Steel Yard on May 5, 2009 with Valpo posting a 14-2 victory.  Valpo went 5-1 against Butler in 2009.  The Crusaders took two of three to open Horizon League play in Indianapolis before sweeping a doubleheader at Emory G. Bauer Field in mid-May.  Valpo then won 4-2 against the Bulldogs in its second game of the Horizon League Tournament.

Chicken Dinner Set for Saturday: The baseball team will be holding a chicken barbecue cookout on Saturday afternoon when the Crusaders host Butler in a doubleheader.  The chicken dinner will be served from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m., The cost of the chicken is $6 with a side of “pit-tatoes” costing $3 and tickets are available at the game.

Senior Day Nearing: The Crusaders will honor the four senior members of the class of 2010 next Friday, May 14 between games of the doubleheader against Youngstown State.  The final home games of the year begin at 12 p.m.

Exhibition Game Added to the Schedule: The Brown and Gold will play an exhibition game against the Gary SouthShore RailCats for the second straight year on May 12 beginning at 6 p.m. at U. S. Steel Yard.

Hitting Streaks: Justin Frane saw his season-long 15 game hitting streak come to an end last weekend in Milwaukee.  He had hit safely in 26 of 27 games.  The 15 game string matched Robbie Robinson as the longest by any Crusader this year.  Kyle Gaedele has the longest current active streak, having hit safely in 13 straight games heading into the Northwestern contest.

Pitching Staff Settles Down in League Play: Valparaiso’s pitching staff has posted a 4.24 earned run average through the first 11 Horizon League contests, down 1.68 from the team’s overall ERA.  That mark is best among all Horizon League schools.  Valpo has a 5.92 ERA on the season.  In addition, opponents are hitting just .275 against Crusader hurlers in conference play, also best in the conference, compared to a .306 average overall.

Quite a Thief: Kyle Gaedele is a perfect 12-for-12 on the base paths this season.  His 12 steals rank third in the conference, but he has the most attempts of anyone in the league that has yet to be caught.  For his career Gaedele is now 20-of-22 swiping bases.

Rounding First and Headed for More: Kyle Gaedele hit .444 for the Crusaders in four games last week with eight hits in 18 at bats.  Of his eight hits, six went for extra bases, five doubles and a homer.

On the Verge of Single Season Records: The Crusaders are nearing numerous single season marks this season.  Kyle Muhlsteff’s 18 doubles are three shy of the current school record while Kyle Gaedele needs one more triple to match the three-bagger mark of seven.  Gaedele also is just seven runs shy of the schools run record, currently having crossed the plate 48 times. 

Looking For Three Straight .400 Hitters: After Valpo went from 1981, when Tom Delattre batted .418 for the Crusaders, through 2007 without a .400 hitter, the Brown and Gold have had two straight seasons with a batter hitting the .400 mark.  In 2008 Zach Rodeghero hit .418 while Matt Lenski hit .406 one year ago.  This year Justin Frane is looking to make it three straight, entering this week at .395, just shy of the magical number.

Getting Them Home From Third: Kyle Gaedele and David Klein has made the most of his RBI opportunities with runners on third and less than two outs.  Gaedele is 15-of-16 in scoring the run in these situations while Klein is a perfect 9-for-9 on the year.

In at Second: Kyle Muhlsteff has ripped 18 doubles already this year, most in the Horizon League.  Kyle Gaedele has one fewer on the season, tied for third with 17.  As a team Valpo’s 95 two-baggers are second in the conference.

Shafer Begins Cracking Career Top-10 Lists:
Bryce Shafer has moved into a tie with eight others for sixth on Valpo’s all-time win list.  He currently has 16 victories in three seasons with the Brown and Gold, two shy of moving into a tie for fourth.  Shafer also has moved past Chuck Donley into sixth place on Valpo’s career strikeout list with 214.  He is three Ks shy of Richard Beumer’s 217 strikeouts for fifth on the all-time list and eight  behind Tom Starck for fourth on the list.  Shafer has moved into 10th place all-time with 230.2 career innings pitched.  He needs 5.0 more innings to move up into the ninth spot.

Crusaders Tie NCAA Records: Valparaiso tied a pair of NCAA records on April 2 in game one of its doubleheader against Chicago State.  The Crusaders tied the NCAA Division I mark for runs in an inning, scoring 21 times in the fifth inning, setting a new fifth inning mark all-time in the process.  In addition, the Brown and Gold tied a NCAA record for batters in an inning when 25 stepped to the plate in that fifth inning.

Frane Ties NCAA Triples Mark: In game two of the doubleheader against Chicago State on April 2, Justin Frane tied the NCAA record for triples in a game with three.  He had a chance for a record-setting fourth three-bagger, hitting one into the gap, but it one-hopped the fence for a ground rule double.

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. 

Shafer Doubles Up on Horizon League Pitcher of the Week and People’s Choice Honors: Bryce Shafer was named the Horizon League’s Pitcher of the Week and was voted the People’s Choice winner through the Horizon League Network for the two consecutive weeks on April 12 and 19.  The junior right-hander went the distance against Cleveland State, allowing just two unearned runs while striking out 14 to get the victory.  The week before he went eight innings striking out 13 against Youngstown State.

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.

Valpo Tabbed Fourth: 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.