Valparaiso (12-19, 6-6 Horizon)
Games #32-34 at Youngstown State (4-26, 2-10 Horizon)
Friday, April 13, 2 p.m. CDT
Saturday, April 14, 12 p.m. CDT
Sunday, April 15, 11 a.m. CDT
Eastwood Field - Niles, Ohio
This Week in Crusader Baseball: Valparaiso begins a four-game road trip this weekend with a three-game series against Youngstown State at Eastwood Field in Niles, Ohio. The Crusaders have won four of their last five games overall, and will wrap up the first half of Horizon League action with this weekend’s series.
On the Air: All three games of the series are scheduled to air live online through the Horizon League Network, with complete video coverage. Live stats will be available through valpoathletics.com for each game this week and a live interactive blog will take place on valpoathletics.com for each game of the series as well.
Head Coach Tracy Woodson: Tracy Woodson, the 16th head coach in Valparaiso University history, is in his sixth season at the helm of the Crusaders and has a 132-176 (.429) record both for his career as well as at Valpo. Woodson ranks fourth in school history for career wins by a head coach. A member of the Los Angeles Dodgers 1988 World Champion team, he has also managed in the minor leagues through the AAA level.
Probable Starters: Tyler Deetjen (LHP, 1-2, 3.86) will open the series against Youngstown State for the Crusaders on Friday while the Penguins will tentatively go with Russ Harless (RHP, 0-2, 5.60). In Saturday’s middle game of the series, Kevin Wild (RHP, 2-1, 3.40) will toe the rubber for the Crusaders while the Penguins are projected to send Blake Aquadro (LHP, 0-6, 9.64) to the hill. Kyle Wormington (RHP, 1-5, 4.20) will take to the bump for the series finale on Sunday for Valpo while Youngstown State will tentatively go with Patrick O’Brien (RHP, 1-5, 6.25). The Penguins have not confirmed any of their weekend starters though.
Series Notes: Valparaiso holds a 32-14 all-time advantage against the Penguins in a series that dates back to 1992. Last season the Crusaders swept all four games against Youngstown State and have won five straight overall against the Penguins dating back to 2010. Valpo won all three game at Emory G. Bauer Field April 15-17, winning by scores of 11-1, 4-3, and 5-2 last season. The two schools met in the Horizon League Tournament with the Crusaders eliminating the Penguins 8-6 on May 28 in Dayton, Ohio.
Wrapping Up Recent Action: Valpo won two of three last weekend at UIC, posting an 8-7, 15-inning victory on Thursday and a 3-2 win on Friday. The Flames won the series finale 3-2 on Saturday afternoon. The Crusaders added a non-conference home win against Grace on Monday, 12-5, before topping Western Michigan at home 6-2 on Tuesday afternoon.
Scouting Youngstown State: The Penguins have dropped five straight games, including a three-game sweep at the hands of Wright State last weekend in Dayton, Ohio. The Raiders outscored Youngstown State 58-8 in the series. The Penguins travel to Kent State on Wednesday before hosting the Crusaders this weekend. Jeremy Banks leads YSU batting .426 with five home runs and 25 runs batted in. He has missed the last three weeks due to injury though, but is due back any time. Drew Dosch is hitting .361 with four homers and 24 RBIs for a team batting just .249. The Penguins’ pitching staff has posted an 8.28 ERA this year.
Wild Tallies Another Pitcher of the Week Accolade: Kevin Wild’s first complete game as a Crusader last Friday earned the senior right-hander his second Horizon League Pitcher of the Week honor. Wild scattered just seven hits and allowed just two runs while not walking anyone in a 3-2 victory over UIC. He struck out five in the game.
Wild Stellar Over Last Five Weeks: Right-hander Kevin Wild has been nearly unhittable over his last five starts dating back to March 10 against Campbell, including four Horizon League outings. The senior right-hander has scattered just 24 hits in 38.0 innings of work, holding opponents to a .186 batting average in the five contests. He has tallied a 2.61 earned run average during the span as well.
Martin Feasts on League Pitching: Elliott Martin is batting .391 in 12 Horizon League contests this season with a home run and 15 runs batted in. He is slugging .457 and has posted a .473 on base percentage against conference foes.
Miller Time: Jarad Miller has come on in relief in five of the 12 Horizon League contests and sports a 0.87 earned run average, allowing just one run in 10.1 innings of work. He is 1-1 with a save and nine strikeouts, with conference foes batting just .229 against him. He went five scoreless innings against UIC on Thursday night in the 15-inning victory.
Leading After Eight: Valpo is a perfect 8-0 this season when taking a lead into the ninth inning.
Mulit-Hits Common for Bain: Andrew Bain has tallied 15 mulit-hit games for Valparaiso in the Crusaders’ first 31 contests of the year. He has four three-hit games as well as a four-hit contest, and leads the Brown and Gold with a .351 batting average. He finally tallied his first extra base hit of the year at UIC, a triple to the gap in left-center. He has 45 singles and the one triple on the year.
Starters Going Deep into Games: Valpo’s three weekend starters all rank among the top five in the Horizon League in innings pitched. Tyler Deetjen leads the conference with 58.1 innings pitched on the season in just eight starts. Kevin Wild (53.0) and Kyle Wormington (49.1) rank third and fifth respectively as well.
Extra Innings a Weekly Event: Valparaiso has played an extra inning game in each of its eight weekend series already this year. The Crusaders are 5-3 in bonus baseball. Valpo’s longest outing of the year was a 15-inning affair at UIC in the series opener.
Quick Games: Valpo has played 11 games in 2:15 or less this season and 22 of its 31 contests in under 2:30. The Crusaders are averaging just 2:19 for their nine-inning games this year, and 2:30 overall, including four three-plus hour extra inning contests.
Pencil Them in the Lineup: Five players have started all 31 games for the Crusaders this season. Tanner Vavra, Chris Manning, Elliott Martin, Will Hagel, and Steven Scoby have been mainstays in the Valpo lineup.
Closing Time: Jarad Miller has picked back up where he left off after missing the last year and a half with an injury, adding to his school record-setting career save total. Miller recorded his second save of the season in the series finale against Milwaukee. His 30 career saves are 16 more than any other player in program history after setting the school’s single season record with 17 during his All-American season in 2009.
Knocking Off Ranked Foes: Valpo’s 10-9, 10-inning victory over #4 Arkansas on Feb. 26 marked the highest ranked team the Crusaders have beaten since defeating #1 Notre Dame on April 25, 2001.
Vavra Named Hitter of the Week: Tanner Vavra was named the Horizon League’s Batter of the Week on Feb. 27 after hitting .583 (7-for-12) in the three-game series against #4 Arkansas. Vavra had a pair of three-hit performances and had at least one hit in each game of the series. In addition, the junior posted a .667 on base percentage and was flawless in the field.
Horizon League Pitchers of the Week: Tyler Deetjen was named the Horizon League’s Pitcher of the Week for the first weekend of play after his opening day performance and then picked up his second weekly accolade on March 6. Kevin Wild earned the award for himself after being named Pitcher of the Week on March 26 and added another on April 9.
Valpo Tabbed Third in 2012: Valparaiso has been picked to finish in third place in the annual Horizon League preseason coaches’ poll. Wright State, last year’s regular season and tournament champion, has been picked to repeat while UIC has been selected second. Valpo was picked just ahead of Milwaukee for third while Butler and Youngstown State round out the poll.
This and That: Tanner Vavra is batting .444 against left-handed pitching this season ... Will Hagel has driven home 13 of his 20 runs with two outs this year ... Vavra has reached base in 17 straight games entering the weekend ... Grant Yoder and Elliott Martin each have seven-game hitting streaks active ... the Valpo baseball program is hosting comedian Bobby Collins at the Athletics-Recreation Center on April 21.