Valpo In The Valley: Baseball


Valpo In The Valley: Baseball
Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Continuing the #ValpoInTheValley series, which will take a look at each of the Missouri Valley Conference’s 17 sports, is baseball. Learn about the landscape of The Valley in baseball, how Valpo has fared against opponents from The Valley in the past, and hear from head coach Brian Schmack as he talks about what the program is looking forward to entering its first season of MVC competition and who will lead the way in 2018 for his team.

MVC Baseball

Valpo is one of seven full member institutions in The Valley which sponsor baseball. The Crusaders join Bradley, Evansville, Illinois State, Indiana State, Missouri State and Southern Illinois on the diamond, while Dallas Baptist University is an affiliate member of the league in baseball as well.

A Look Back at 2017

MVC Regular Season 

Team

MVC

Overall

Missouri State

18-1

43-20

DBU

15-6

42-21

Indiana State

12-9

29-26

Southern Illinois

10-10

27-30

Wichita State

10-11

28-30

Evansville

8-12

18-39

Bradley

6-14

20-31

Illinois State

2-18

16-40

MVC Championship

May 28, 2017 – Springfield, Mo. – DBU 10, Illinois State 6

NCAA Tournament

DBU (Fort Worth Regional, 2-2)

Virginia 6, DBU 3

DBU 6, Central Conn. State 5

DBU 11, Virginia 8

TCU 15, DBU 3

Missouri State (Fayetteville Regional, 3-1)

Missouri State 6, Oklahoma State 5

Missouri State 5, Arkansas 4

Arkansas 11, Missouri State 10

Missouri State 3, Arkansas 2

Missouri State (Fort Worth Super Regional, 0-2)

TCU 3, Missouri State 2

TCU 8, Missouri State 1

Valparaiso

The Crusaders earned 24 victories during the 2017 campaign and closed their final season as a Horizon League member with a fourth-place finish.

Valpo boasted a pair of All-League Second Team honorees in Jake Hanson (.291, 28 R, 30 RBI, 14 2B) and James Stea (led team in R [44], RBI [32], HR [8], OBP [.420] and SB [21]). Sam Shaikin also enjoyed a strong 2017 season, leading the team with a .317 batting average and finishing second on the squad with 36 runs scored.

Jon Tieman became the first Crusader to earn Freshman All-America honors since 2012, posting a 4-1 record with seven saves and a 2.93 ERA while striking out 51 batters in 46 innings of work. He was joined on the Horizon League All-Freshman squad by Christian Barczi (.282, 14 R, 14 RBI) and Easton Rhodehouse (4-6, 3 SV, 2.43 ERA, 40 K in 33.1 innings).

The Valley on the National Stage

The Valley sent a pair of teams to the NCAA Tournament last season in DBU and Missouri State, a regular occurrence of late for the conference. 2017 was the fourth time in the last six seasons that two or more MVC squads earned NCAA Tournament bids, while in 2015, the conference sent three schools to the postseason.

Missouri State advanced to the Super Regionals last year, marking the fifth time in the last 15 seasons an MVC program has made it out of the Regional round. Missouri State is also the last program to make it to Omaha and the College World Series, as the Bears made their first visit to the CWS in 2003.

14 players who played collegiately at current Valley schools have made appearances for Major League Baseball clubs this season. In addition, this past June, 24 MVC student-athletes were selected during the MLB Player Draft – the most selections from The Valley since 2007.

Valpo Versus The Valley

Valpo has little recent history with the other seven MVC programs on the baseball diamond, but did claim a victory last year in their lone game against another current MVC team.

The Crusaders went on the road in mid-week action in early April to Illinois State and came away with a 4-3 victory in extra innings. Valpo also played DBU in a three-game series in Dallas two years ago, winning one game and dropping a one-run decision in one of the other contests, while the Crusaders claimed victory last time they played Bradley in 2009.

Going back through the years, however, Valpo does have a lengthy history with former ICC rivals Evansville and Indiana State on the diamond. The Crusaders are 35-18 all-time versus Evansville, while they have captured 30 wins in the series with Indiana State as well.

Looking Ahead to 2018

The Valley plays a round-robin schedule in baseball, with each team playing one three-game series against each of the other seven conference teams.

All eight teams make the MVC baseball tournament, which will be hosted this season by DBU at Horner Ballpark – which has been ranked among the nation’s top-20 Division I stadiums – from May 23-26, 2018. The tournament is set up in two four-team pods, with a double-elimination format out of each pod to advance to the championship game. Once in the title game, it’s a winner-take-all, one-game affair.