Valparaiso (4-5, 0-0 Horizon)
#10 Texas (9-3, 0-0 Big 12)
Game 10: Tuesday, March 4 - 6 p.m.
LHP Dalton Lundeen (0-0, 27.00) vs. RHP Blake Goins (0-0, 0.00)
UFCU Disch-Falk Field (6,649) - Austin, Texas
On Deck for Crusader Baseball: After their three-game series versus McNeese State in Lake Charles, Louisiana, the Crusaders head west into the Lone Star State for a Tuesday evening tilt with the Texas Longhorns. The 10th-ranked Longhorns have been winners of four straight, three of which have been one-run decisions.
Last Time Out: Valpo escaped Friday’s series opener versus McNeese State with a 6-5 win before falling 8-0 in the Saturday game. The rubber game was a slugfest that saw 14 runs in the first two innings. The Cowboy bullpen settled in after the second inning to hold the Brown and Gold to one run over the final seven innings in a 15-8 McNeese State victory. Chris Manning had a career series as the senior launched three home runs and tallied seven runs batted in a 4-for-12 weekend with 13 total bases.
On the Air: Tuesday night’s game will be aired live on the Longhorn Network. Kevin Dunn and Greg Swindell have the call. Links to the audio and live stats will also be available at valpoathletics.com.
Head Coach Brian Schmack: Brian Schmack, the 17th head coach in Valparaiso University history, is in his first season at the helm of the Crusaders. 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, six pitchers went on to play professional baseball including Bryce Shafer and Dallas Cawiezell who were selected in the MLB Draft.
Probable Starter: Sophomore southpaw Dalton Lundeen (0-0, 27.00) will make his first start of the season Tuesday. Lundeen was sidelined for much of the preseason and the first two weekends of the season with mononucleosis. The 6-foot, 3-inch left-hander was 5-1 with a 3.73 earned run average a season ago.
Series Notes: Tuesday will be the first ever meeting between Valparaiso and Texas on the diamond. Furthermore, this is the Crusaders’ first trip to the state of Texas.
Looking Back: Valparaiso finished 2013 with a 32-28 record overall and a 13-11 mark in the Horizon League. The Crusaders tied with UIC for second place in the regular season but went 3-0 in the Horizon League Tournament in Youngstown to claim their second straight automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. After losing a 5-4 heartbreaker to #13 Indiana on the Hoosiers’ home turf, Valpo eliminated the Florida Gators 5-4 the following day for its first win in an NCAA Regional game since 1966.
Scouting the Opposition: Texas currently stands at 9-3 overall after opening the season with two losses to California. The Longhorns took two of three from Stanford in addition to single victories over Rice, Houston, and Sam Houston State. Texas can pitch with anyone in the nation as demonstrated by its other-worldly 2.04 staff ERA, but hits have come at a premium as UT carries a .247 team batting average.
Texas is led by skipper Augie Garrido. Garrido is in his 46th year as head coach. His 1,883 career wins make him the winningest baseball coach in Division I history. Garrido has made seven trips to the College World Series and claimed five national titles. He’s the first coach to lead two different schools to NCAA Championships (Cal State Fullerton, Texas). The 75-year old is a six-time National Coach of the Year and served as an assistant coach on Team USA in 1990.
Mark Payton, a Chicago area native, leads Texas with a .500 average (22-for-44). His nine RBIs pace the Longhorn offense. The outfielder smacked 18 hits in his first seven games. Payton was a unanimous first team All-Big 12 selection in 2013. He started every game for Augie Garrido in his first two seasons in Austin.
Blake Goins is slated to take the hill for the Longhorns. The right-hander has made four appearances on the young season including a start against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi when he threw 2 1/3 shutout innings. The freshman hasn’t thrown since February 25th when he tossed one perfect frame against Texas-Pan American.
Payton is the only Texas regular with an average north of .275. In fact, four starters are under the .200 mark (Montalbano .190, Gurwitz .182, McGuire .132, Barrera .128). As a team, the Longhorns have stolen only seven bases in their first twelve tilts.
First and Second Time Through: The Crusaders are batting .378 in the first inning of games this season. They’ve managed to hit higher than .226 in only one other frame (4th inning, .290).
Et Cetera: The Longhorns draw an average of 5,781 fans per game, the sixth-most in NCAA baseball...Texas infielder/pitcher Kacy Clemens is the son of former MLB pitcher Roger...Tuesday’s game marks the third consecutive season Valpo has had a Top 10 team on its schedule...the Crusaders have scored 24 runs in the first and second innings combined, but have managed just 27 from the third inning on...Texas has hit two home runs this season, but their pitchers have allowed just one...Valpo is batting .315 with runners on base and .300 with runners in scoring position, but just .150 with the bases empty...Chris Manning is the only Crusader to have currently reached base in more than one game in a row (5)...Manning hit his third home run in his 36th at-bat of the season Sunday at McNeese State. He had three in 217 at-bats in 2013...Spencer Mahoney currently owns a .433 batting average on balls in play....Valpo has committed multiple errors in five games thus far.