Valparaiso (4-10, 1-2 Horizon)
#24 Indiana (13-4, 0-0 Big Ten)
Purdue (7-10, 0-0 Big Ten)
Tue. Mar. 17 - Kaucic (L) (0-0, 9.00) vs. Effross (R) (1-2, 2.25), 3:05 pm CT
Wed. Mar. 18 - Foreman (R) (1-0, 5.19) vs. Bryant (R) (0-0, 6.61) 4:30 pm CT
This Week in Crusader Baseball: Valparaiso hits the road this week to face a pair of Big Ten foes in Indiana and Purdue. Tuesday will represent the Crusaders’ first trip to Bart Kaufman Field since the 2013 NCAA Regionals. Valpo will get its first glimpse of Alexander Field Wednesday evening as the Boilermakers play host in a 5:30 pm ET/4:30 pm CT affair. Both Bart Kaufman Stadium and Alexander Field opened for play during the 2013 season.
Last Time Out: The Crusaders outscored UIC 19-12 this past weekend at Curtis Granderson Stadium in Chicago, but the Brown and Gold left with only one win to show for it. The Flames’ Ian Lewandowski limited Valpo to just two runs on six hits in eight innings of work on Friday as UIC tallied 11 hits against Crusader ace Dalton Lundeen. Lefty Jake Dahlberg neutralized the Valparaiso offense for eight innings in the Flames’ 3-2 win on Saturday. The Crusaders scratched two runs across in the ninth, but Ryan Hinchley recorded the 27th out with the tying run on second base. Valpo returned Sunday and made quick work of UIC, jumping out to an 11-0 lead by the third inning. Nate Palace scalded a three-run shot over the LF fence an inning before Daniel Delaney rocketed a three-run home run of his own. All nine starters recorded at least one hit for the Brown and Gold. On the hill, Mario Losi used four double plays en route to seven shutout innings for his first win of 2015.
On the Air: Audio - Valpo Sports Radio Network (WVUR, 95.1 FM, Valparaiso) - Brandon Vickrey (PxP), Tommy Mantice (Color). Links for the audio and live stats are available at ValpoAthletics.com. In addition, ValpoGameday.com is a one-stop shop for live video, stats and social media interaction, all on the same page.
Head Coach Brian Schmack: Brian Schmack, the 17th head coach in Valparaiso University history, is in his second season at the helm of the Crusaders. He led Valparaiso to 25 wins in his inaugural campaign, a school record for victories by a first-year skipper. Schmack, a member of the 2003 Detroit Tigers, served as pitching coach/associate head coach at Valpo for seven seasons prior to his promotion. Under Schmack’s tutelage, seven pitchers have gone on to play professional baseball including Bryce Shafer, Dallas Cawiezell, and Karch Kowalczyk who were selected in the MLB Draft.
Probable Starters: Freshman LHP Connor Kaucic (0-0, 9.00) will make his second career start as he takes the mound for Valpo in Tuesday’s game versus Indiana. RHP Ellis Foreman (1-0, 5.19) will get the ball in Wednesday’s tilt at Purdue. The redshirt sophomore made eleven starts a season ago, but all three of his appearances thus far in 2015 have been out of the bullpen. Foreman’s final four starts of last year yielded a 3-0 record and a 1.29 earned run average.
Series Notes: Purdue leads the all-time series, 64-18. The last meeting between the two teams resulted in a 7-2 Boilermaker win in the 2012 NCAA Regionals held at the U.S. Steel Yard in Gary. Purdue has won five straight over the Crusaders. Valpo’s last win over the Boilermakers came on May 11th, 2005.
Indiana owns a 34-12 edge in a series that began in 1949. The Crusaders suffered one of their most heartbreaking losses in school history at the hands of the Hoosiers in the 2013 NCAA Regionals. Valpo led IU by a score of 4-1 entering the 9th, but Chad Clark capped a four-run rally with a walk-off home run deep into the Bloomington night. Valparaiso’s last victory over Indiana came on March 29th, 2005 in a 12-6 win at Sembower Field.
Looking Back: Valpo finished 2014 with a 25-28 record overall and a 12-12 mark in the Horizon League. Sophomore Dalton Lundeen compiled one of the best seasons on the mound of any lefthander in college baseball, registering HL-lows in earned run average (1.94), walks-plus-hits per inning pitched (1.02), and walks per nine innings (1.30). Offensively, Chris Manning racked up 61 hits as he boosted his career total to 264, good for second place all-time in school history.
In the Other Dugouts: Chris Lemonis is in his first season at the head of the Hoosier program. He took over for Tracy Smith last July after Smith accepted the Arizona State post. Lemonis helped mold 15 Cardinals into All-Americans during his eight-year stint as an assistant at Louisville. The 1992 Citadel grad began his coaching career at his alma mater for 12 seasons before moving onto to UL.
Austin Cangelosi and Casey Rodrigue anchor the Hoosier offense. Craig Dedelow (.338 BA, .405 OBP, 3-3 SBs) and Logan Sowers (.292 BA, 4-4 SBs) also present challenges for opposing battery-mates. Indiana’s pitching has been dynamite, leading the team to its first Top 25 ranking of the season. IU’s staff has carved out an aggregate 2.50 ERA while possessing the nation’s best strikeout-to-walk ratio (5.95). Coincidentally, Indiana also owns the fewest walks allowed per nine innings pitched of any staff in the country (1.35 BB/9 IP). The Hoosiers are expected to run a number of pitchers out versus the Crusaders, but Scott Effross (1-2, 2.25) will lead the charge. The right-hander threw 4 2/3 innings of relief against Valpo in the 2013 NCAA Regionals, allowing a pair of unearned runs.
Doug Schreiber is in his 17th season as head coach of Purdue. The LaPorte, Indiana native holds the school record for victories with 462 and counting.
Junior Kyle Wood has already amassed 24 hits in just 59 at-bats (.407 BA) while Brandon Krieg has scored 15 runs and swiped three bases. Wednesday will be Bryant’s seventh appearance of 2015, but his first start.
Driftless Drivel: Valparaiso assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Ben Wolgamot was a Purdue Boilermaker from 2008-2010, where he earned First Team All-Big Ten honors as a second baseman...Nate Palace slugged exactly 1.000 each of the last two weeks...Nolan Lodden is 19-for-41 (.463) with 17 runs scored since moving to the No. 2 spot of the batting order on March 1st...Spencer Mahoney has reached base in 22 of his last 23 games dating back to last season...11 of Daniel Delaney’s 14 RBI have come in the last seven games.