Valparaiso (20-27, 7-7 Horizon)
Games #48-49 vs. Youngstown State (20-26, 8-11 Horizon)
Friday, May 14, 12 p.m. CDT (DH) - Emory G. Bauer Field
Games #50-51 at Butler (18-24, 8-11 Horizon)
Monday, May 17, 12 p.m. CDT (DH) - Indianapolis, Ind.
This Week in Crusader Baseball: Valparaiso wraps up the home portion of the 2010 regular season on Friday afternoon for Senior Day as the Crusaders host Youngstown State in a Horizon League doubleheader. The Brown and Gold then head to Indianapolis, Ind. on Monday afternoon to battle instate rival Butler in a twinbill.
On the Air: Neither the games against Youngstown State nor the games against Butler will be carried online or over the air. Live stats will be available for every game this week through www.valpoathletics.com though.
Pitching Rotation: Game one of Friday’s doubleheader will feature southpaw Jon Gulbransen (LHP, 4-4, 3.97) taking the hill for Valpo while Youngstown State will counter with Aaron Swenson (RHP, 6-1, 5.69). In the nightcap, the Crusaders will send Bryce Shafer (RHP, 5-4, 3.93) to the mound against the Penguins’ Blake Aquadro (LHP, 2-4, 7.77). On Monday, Valpo plans to send Tyler Deetjen (LHP, 3-2, 6.38) and Damon McCormick (RHP, 5-1, 5.15) to the rubber. At this time Butler has not announced its Monday starters.
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 91-120 record both at Valpo and for his career.
Wrapping Up Recent Action: The Crusaders dropped a pair of one-run games to begin last weekend’s series against Butler. The Bulldogs took the opener 8-7 on Friday before winning game one on Saturday 2-1 in 10 innings. In Saturday’s night cap, Valpo posted a 7-2 win to close the series. The Brown and Gold jumped out to a 7-0 lead on Tuesday on the way to a 10-7 win against Northern Illinois. The Crusaders then faced the Gary SouthShore RailCats, a minor league independent team on Wednesday, falling 11-2 in an exhibition game.
Scouting Youngstown State: The Penguins have lost six of their last seven games entering Friday. They dropped two in a row against Cleveland State last weekend before having a pair of midweek games rained out this week. Tom Clayton ranks fifth in the nation batting .452 while Joe Iacobucci is hitting .363 with nine homeruns and 45 RBIs. As a team Youngstown State is batting .304 while the pitching staff has a 7.13 ERA.
Scouting Butler: The Bulldogs had a pair of midweek games rained out this week following their series at Valpo last weekend. Butler does play a twinbill at Milwaukee on Friday before hosting the Crusaders on Monday. Corey Moylan leads the Butler offensive attack, hitting .359 with 35 runs batted in while Kyle Schultz is batting .358. As a team, Butler is hitting .309 while the pitching staff’s ERA is 7.26.
This Year vs. YSU and Butler: The Crusaders won two of three to open Horizon League play against the Penguins on the road back in mid-April. Valpo was a 6-4 winner in 10 innings in game one of the series before Bryce Shafer shutout YSU 4-0 on a two-hitter in game two. Youngstown State won the final game of the series 8-1. Butler won two of three from Valpo last weekend, winning the opener 8-7 and game two 2-1 in 10 innings. The Crusaders rebounded to win the series finale 7-2.
Thanks Seniors: The Crusaders will honor the four senior members of the class of 2010 on Friday between games of the doubleheader against Youngstown State. Bo McClendon, Kyle Muhlsteff, Austen Siwiec, and Matt Stucky will be making their final home appearances at Emory G. Bauer Field.
Funds Raised for Boys and Girls Club: Valpo’s exhibition game against the Gary SouthShore RailCats on Wednesday evening netted $1,428 for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Northwest Indiana.
Tying School Marks: A pair of Valparaiso University single season records have already been tied this season by the Crusaders. Kyle Muhlsteff’s 21 doubles match the school mark set by four others: Rob Hatrick (1997), Mark Pedersen (2001), and Zach Rodeghero (2008). Kyle Gaedele’s seven triples match Ken Manning (1989) and Rob Hadrick (1997) for three-baggers in a season as well.
Nearing Other Single Season Records: In addition to the school marks that are currently tied, Valpo is on the verge of matching several other school single season records. Kyle Muhlsteff and Kyle Gaedele are both chasing the single season runs record. Muhlsteff enters the weekend with 53 while Gaedele has 52 on the year. Mark Pedersen set the current mark with 55 runs scored in 2001. In addition, Gaedele’s 53 runs batted in this season are just five behind Steve Schank’s 1985 record of 58.
Deetjen Sets Them Down: Tyler Deetjen fanned 14 Northern Illinois hitters on Tuesday afternoon, matching Bryce Shafer for the most strikeouts by a Crusader this season. The sophomore had just 16 Ks his entire freshman season, and only 27 this year before the effort against the Huskies.
Robinson Likes Horizon League Pitching: Robbie Robinson is hitting a team-leading .442 against the Horizon League this season. His average ranks fourth among all league hitters. Robinson is batting .315 on the year.
Playing Quickly: Valpo wastes little time on the diamond between innings, moving games along at a brisk pace. The Crusaders have had two sub-two hour games this season for nine innings, including 1:57 against Butler last weekend. The Brown and Gold has played more than three hours just three times since March 30, one of which was just 3:01 and another game which went 11 innings.
Hitting Streaks: Three different hitters have matched the team’s season long hitting streak, reaching safely in 15 straight games. Kyle Gaedele, Robbie Robinson, and Justin Frane all hit safely in 15 games in a row this year. Currently, Kyle Muhlsteff has the team’s longest hitting streak heading into the weekend at eight straight games, after having an 11-game hitting streak earlier this season.
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.
A 1-2-3 Punch: Valpo’s weekend starting rotation of Jon Gulbransen, Bryce Shafer, and Damon McCormick have been as good as any starting staff in the league this year. All three members of the trio rank among the top-seven in the Horizon League in earned run average. Shafer enters the weekend third in the league at 3.93 while Gulbransen is fourth at 3.97. McCormick has a 5.15 ERA as well.
Among the Nation’s Best: Kyle Gaedele entered the week ranked eighth in the country with seven triples this season. On the mound, Bryce Shafer’s 96 strikeouts were 13th best among all hurlers. Damon McCormick also ranks 13th in the nation allowing just 1.24 walks per nine innings.
Shafer Among Several 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 Tom Starck into fourth place on Valpo’s career strikeout list with 225. He is 28 Ks shy of Shawn Barker’s 253 strikeouts for third on the all-time list. Shafer has also moved into ninth place all-time with 240.2 career innings pitched. He needs just 4.1 more innings to move up into the eighth spot and 6.2 more innings to move up into seventh position.
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.
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.