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Senior Day Highlights Regular Season-Ending Series with Youngstown State
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Youngstown State (14-38, 8-13 Horizon)
Emory G. Bauer Field - Valparaiso, Indiana
This Week in Crusader Baseball: Valpo finishes out the regular season this weekend against Youngstown State. The Crusaders entered last weekend with a ten-game winning streak before losing three in a row to UIC. The Brown and Gold can finish anywhere from second to fifth place in the Horizon League. With UIC owning the head-to-head tiebreaker, a third place finish appears most probable for the local nine. Valpo would have to pick up two games on the Flames to leapfrog them into second place. In order for Youngstown State to not finish fifth, a sweep over Valpo is a necessity in addition to a UIC sweep over Wright State in Dayton.
Series Notes: Valpo leads the all-time series 41-15. Valpo took two of three from Youngstown State in April. The Penguins win in the Sunday game of that series was their first against the Crusaders since May 14th, 2010.
Scouting the Penguins: Youngstown State currently stands at 14-38 overall. The Penguins have lost ten of their last eleven games including three straight conference series losses. Pitching - the bullpen, more specifically - continues to hamstring Youngstown State.
Patrick O’Brien gets the ball Thursday for Youngstown State. The junior started against the Crusaders last May in Valpo in a 13-2 Youngstown State loss. O’Brien also made the start in the Saturday game earlier this season, throwing 7 2/3 innings, allowing eleven hits, three earned runs, and two walks while striking out three in a 6-3 Penguin loss versus the Crusaders. He’s been arguably the most reliable starter for the Penguins in 2013, logging the most innings pitched (77 1/3) while walking just 17 batters. While O’Brien has kept the free passes to a minimum, he has yielded six home runs.
Junior third-baseman Drew Dosch paces the Youngstown State offense. Dosch leads the Penguins in runs scored, hits, doubles, triples, slugging percentage, walks, and on-base percentage. An odds-on favorite for First Team All-Horizon League at the hot corner, Dosch has maintained his offensive prowess without last year’s partner-in-crime Jeremy Banks.
Et Cetera: Injuries have kept Valpo trainer Jason Burgess busy this spring, but at last all the pieces seem to be coming together as last Sunday’s lineup represents a more ideal offensive attack...Despite Spencer Mahoney’s season batting average of .264, the sophomore is hitting .343 in conference play...Billy Cribbs has thrown out an astounding 44.2% of would-be base stealers...closer Karch Kowalczyk has allowed only one run in 2013. The junior’s 0.47 ERA is tops in the Horizon League...Andrew Bain is 23-for-57 (.404) with runners in scoring position...Bryce Hara is 21-for-42 at the plate when leading off an inning...As a team, the Crusaders are batting .212 with the bases loaded, but their .277 overall batting average is in the top half of college baseball.