Valparaiso (17-21, 5-3 Horizon)
Game #39 vs. Notre Dame (17-22, 7-8 Big East)
Wednesday, Apr. 28, 7 p.m. CDT - U. S. Steel Yard
Games #40-42 at Milwaukee (17-17, 7-5 Horizon)
Friday, Apr. 30, 3 p.m. CDT - Henry Aaron Field
Saturday, May 1, 1 p.m. (DH) - Henry Aaron Field
This Week in Crusader Baseball: Valparaiso heads back to U. S. Steel Yard in Gary, Ind. on Wednesday evening to battle Notre Dame in the SouthShore Showdown. The Crusaders will then return to Horizon League action this weekend, heading to Milwaukee to face the Panthers in another key three-game weekend series.
On the Air: The game against Notre Dame will be broadcast live on WVUR (95.1-FM, Valparaiso) and online at www.valpoathletics.com. The Milwaukee series will not be carried online or over the air. Live stats will also be available for every game this weekend through www.valpoathletics.com.
Pitching Rotation: On Wednesday evening the Crusaders will send Tyler Deetjen (LHP, 2-1, 5.26) to the mound while the Fighting Irish will counter with Todd Miller (RHP, 1-0, 3.00). In Friday’s series opener against the Panthers, Jon Gulbransen (LHP, 3-3, 3.88) will toe the rubber for the Crusaders against Chad Pierce (RHP, 3-3,3.47). Game one of Saturday’s twinbill will see Bryce Shafer (RHP, 5-4, 4.80) climb the hill against Kyle Schmidt (RHP, 3-2, 5.11). The series finale will see Damon McCormick (RHP, 4-0, 6.23) take the mound for Valpo while Milwaukee has not determined its starter.
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 88-114 record both at Valpo and for his career.
Wrapping Up Recent Action: The Crusaders lost both ends of a doubleheader last Friday afternoon, falling to Wright State 11-1 and 10-4 at Emory G. Bauer Field to see their 10-game home win streak come to an end. The Raiders used a seven-run fifth in game one and a four-run fourth in game two to break the game open.
Scouting Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish won two of three from Cincinnati last weekend prior to hosting Toledo on Tuesday night. Casey Martin leads the team offensively hitting .369 with 26 runs batted in while Ryan Connolly is batting .365. As a team Notre Dame is batting .285 while the pitching staff has a 5.53 earned run average.
Scouting Milwaukee: The Panthers enter the game having won four of their last five. Milwaukee is perfect at home this season and has won 20 straight at home heading into a Wednesday night doubleheader against Northwestern. Sam Sivilotti leads the team with a .432 batting average while Tim Patzman is batting .422 with four homers and 27 runs batted in. As a team Milwaukee is hitting .332 while the pitching staff has a 5.04 earned run average.
Last Year vs. Notre Dame and Milwaukee: The Fighting Irish earned a 10-4 victory over Valpo in South Bend, Ind. on March 18. The Crusaders won two of three at home against Milwaukee to open Emory G. Bauer Field, but then saw their season come to an end with a 10-7 loss to the Panthers in their third game of the Horizon League Tournament.
It’s Been Awhile: Valparaiso and Notre Dame have met 24 consecutive times in South Bend since the last time the Crusaders and Fighting Irish battled at another location. Notre Dame last visited Valpo on May 1, 1989. The two schools have not met at a neutral site since May 31, 1963.
Still Awhile, but Not Quite as Long: The Fighting Irish have won nine straight games against the Crusaders dating back to April 25, 2001 when Valpo defeated #1 Notre Dame 4-2 in game two of a doubleheader.
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: Robbie Robinson saw his season-long 15 game hitting streak come to an end in game one of last Friday’s twinbill against Wright State. The 15 game string is the longest by any Crusader this year. He picked it right back up in game two, getting a single to start a new streak. Justin Frane currently has the team’s longest hitting streak, having hit safely in 13 straight games entering the contest with Notre Dame.
Pitching Staff Settles Down in League Play: Valparaiso’s pitching staff has posted a 4.62 earned run average through the first eight Horizon League contests, down a point-and-a-half from the team’s overall ERA. Valpo has a 6.12 ERA on the season. In addition, opponents are hitting just .279 against Crusader hurlers in conference play compared to a .309 average overall.
Quite a Thief: Kyle Gaedele is a perfect 10-for-10 on the base paths this season. His 10 steals rank third in the conference, but he has the most attempts of anyone in the league that has yet to be caught.
Going For Three: As a team Valparaiso is 24th in the country with 17 triples on the season. Kyle Gaedele’s six three-baggers are eighth most individually, and also lead the Horizon League.
Frane Feasts on Southpaws: Justin Frane is batting .545 (18-for-33) on the season against left-handed pitching. The Crusaders’ leading hitter on the season at .410, he is batting .366 against the right-handers as well.
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 .410.
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 a perfect 14-of-14 in scoring the run in these situations while Klein is 8-for-8 on the year.
Big in the Clutch: Steven Scoby is batting .435 on the season when stepping to the plate with two outs. Ryan O’Gara, who has missed the last few weeks due to injury, also excelled in this situation, hitting .500 (14-of-28) prior to being sidelined.
In at Second: Kyle Muhlsteff has ripped 17 doubles already this year, most in the Horizon League. He ranks 34th nationally in two-baggers, with 10 of the 17 coming at Emory G. Bauer Field.
Coming Up Big in Extras: Wit the extra inning win against Youngstown State on April 10, Valpo has now won six of its last seven extra inning contests.
Shafer Begins Cracking Career Top-10 Lists: With his win against Cleveland State, moved into a tie with eight others for sixth on Valpo’s all-time win list. He currently has 16 victories in just under three seasons with the Brown and Gold, two shy of moving into a tie for fourth. Shafer also has moved past Jim Pomeroy into seventh place on Valpo’s career strikeout list with 207 for his career. He is five Ks shy of Chuck Donley’s 212 strikeouts for sixth on the all-time list and 10 behind Richard Beumer for fifth on the list. Shafer has moved into 10th place all-time with 221.2 career innings pitched. He needs 14.0 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.