Valparaiso (21-25, 11-11 Horizon)
at Youngstown State (12-32, 4-15 Horizon)
vs. Oakland (21-22, 10-10 Horizon)
Fri. May 13th - Lundeen (L) (4-3, 3.68) vs. King (L) (2-5, 4.12) 10 am CT
Fri. May 13th - Inman (R) (1-0, 4.50) vs. Quinlan (R) (2-7, 5.62) 1 pm CT
Sun. May 15th - Haas (R) (3-1, 3.21) vs. Palm (R) (4-4, 3.41) 12 pm CT
Sun. May 15th - Foreman (R) (0-2, 4.70) vs. TBD (0-0, 0.00) 3 pm CT
This Week in Crusader Baseball: Eight days before the curtain descends on the regular season, Valpo and Youngstown State will meet for the first time in 2016 in a Friday doubleheader. Two days later, the Crusaders will return to Emory G. Bauer Field for a Sunday twinbill versus the Oakland Golden Grizzlies.
Last Time Out: Dan Delaney swatted a pair of three-run dingers in a 13-10 victory over visiting Purdue on Wednesday. The senior struck in the third and sixth innings to help the Crusaders snap a seven-game slide. Delaney reached the 40-RBI plateau after driving in six in Valpo’s final midweek tilt of the season.
Following the Crusaders: Audio (WVUR 95.1 FM, Valparaiso) and live stats will be available for all four games this weekend. The links to those are posted at ValpoAthletics.com. In addition, follow @ValpoBaseball on Twitter for in-game updates and a behind-the-scenes look at the Crusaders throughout the season.
Head Coach Brian Schmack: Brian Schmack, the 17th head baseball coach in Valparaiso University history, is in his third 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. The former big-leaguer followed that up with a 22-win season in 2015. 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: Dalton Lundeen (4-3, 3.68) and Grant Inman (1-0, 4.50) will oppose the Penguins on Friday. Trevor Haas (3-1, 3.21) and Ellis Foreman (0-2, 4.70) get the nod in Sunday’s doubleheader versus Oakland.
Series Notes: The Crusaders hold a convincing 55-18 edge over Youngstown State in a series that began in 1992. The Brown and Gold are 13-3 in their last 16 tilts against the Penguins. After taking two of three from Oakland earlier this season in Rochester, Valpo has been victorious in 29 of its 47 contests versus the Golden Grizzlies.
Looking Back: Valpo finished 2015 with a 22-31 record overall, but a 15-14 mark in the Horizon League. The offense experienced a 53-point uptick in batting average and a 67-point increase in slugging percentage from the season prior. Senior Spencer Mahoney obtained the school record for career walks with 138 while moving into 8th-place all-time for career hits (216). Junior starting pitcher Dalton Lundeen amassed 94 strikeouts in 93 2/3 innings pitched while winning five games for the third straight year. The southpaw entered 2016 needing 78 1/3 innings pitched to become Valpo’s career leader in that category.
In the Other Dugouts: Youngstown State has ample motivation over the season’s final eight days. With the addition of Northern Kentucky to the Horizon League, the last place team is left out of the HL Championship. The Penguins arrive at this weekend one-half game ahead of the Norse for the sixth and final spot in the tourney. YSU can exact revenge on the Crusaders, who did the Penguins no favor last weekend by dropping both ends of a doubleheader to NKU.
Billy Salem, Anthony and Gerrad Rohan, like Valpo’s Alex Dirienzo, found a home in the Horizon League after Akron executed its baseball program in 2015. Gerrad leads the Penguins in batting average (.273) and RBIs (23) while Salem touts a team-most 40 hits. As a club, YSU is batting just .221, the second-lowest mark in Division I baseball.
Left-hander Joe King will oppose the Brown and Gold in the morning tilt while righty Jeremy Quinlan toes the slab in the finale. King faced Valpo twice in relief lsat season and once as a starter. He limited the Crusaders to one run in 11 innings of regular-season work in 2015. Quinlan is 0-1 lifetime with a 3.75 ERA in three appearances against Valpo.
Coming into Friday, Oakland and Valpo are tied for fourth place in the league standings. The Grizz will host UIC on Saturday before traveling to Northwest Indiana for another two games Sunday. Mike Brosseau has been the heart and soul of the Oakland offense having socked nine homers and 28 RBIs. Tyler Pagano (.307/2 HR/28 RBI) and Ian Yetsko (.290/5 HR/33 RBI) have given Brosseau plenty of protection in the middle of the order.
It’ll be another Palm Sunday as RHP Tyler Palm takes the hill against Valpo on the Lord’s Day for the second time in five weeks. The 6-foot, 9-inch junior salvaged a win from Oakland’s series against the Crusaders, tossing 6 1/3 innings of three-run ball for his third win of the season. The Golden Grizzlies are undecided on a game two starter.
The Dalton Lundeen File: Senior Dalton Lundeen has continued to make his mark in the Valpo record books in his final season in a Crusader uniform. He enters this weekend with 19 wins (4th in program history), 322 2/3 innings pitched (2nd-most), and 263 strikeouts (4th-most). The southpaw needs just five innings to become the all-time leader in innings pitched and two more strikeouts to move into sole possession of 3rd place in that category.
Driftless Drivel: Dan Delaney enters this weekend with seven home runs on the spring; the Crusaders have not had a player record more than that in a season since 2008 (Josh Wallace, 11)...Bryce Yoder has made 70 career appearances for Valpo...Delaney was 14-for-27 (.519) versus Youngstown State last season...the Brown and Gold have had one errorless performance in their last eight tilts...Dalton Lundeen owns a 1.84 earned run average to go with a 5-1 record in seven career starts against the Penguins...the Valpo offense endured four double-digit strikeout games in the season’s first 14 games; it hasn’t had one in its last 32 contests...opponents have racked up a dozen or more hits in each of their last eight games versus the Crusaders...ten of Valpo’s last eleven affairs have been sub-3:00 tilts...Trevor Haas’s lone career shutout came against Oakland back on April 16th in Michigan...Nolan Lodden has reached base safely in 43 of 46 games this season...the Crusaders have hit 24 HRs this season, the same number as their opponents.