Youngstown State (14-35, 5-18 Horizon)
Valparaiso (24-26, 14-12 Horizon)
Emory G. Bauer Field - Valparaiso, Ind.
Thu. May 19th - Lundeen (L) (5-3, 3.47) vs. Quinlan (R) (2-7, 5.37) 3 pm CT
Fri. May 20th - Haas (R) (4-1, 3.07) vs. King (L) (2-6, 4.95) 1 pm CT
Sat. May 21st - Foreman (R) (1-2, 3.72) vs. Semonsen (L) (0-3, 5.29) 1 pm CT
This Week in Crusader Baseball: The regular season wraps up this weekend as Youngstown State visits Emory G. Bauer Field for a three-game series. Valpo can still finish anywhere from second to fifth place in the Horizon League standings. Head coach Brian Schmack will honor all twelve seniors during Saturday’s Senior Day.
Last Time Out: The Crusaders used three sacrifice flies and a complete-game effort from Trevor Haas to defeat Oakland 3-2 in the first game of a home doubleheader last Sunday. Jake Hanson erupted for eight RBIs and Ellis Foreman turned in eight shutout innings in a 17-2 victory in the second tilt as Valpo earned its second twinbill sweep of the league season.
Following the Crusaders: Live stats will be available for all three games this weekend. The links to those are posted at ValpoAthletics.com. In addition, follow @ValpoBaseball on Twitter for in-game updates and a behind-the-scenes look at the Crusaders throughout the season.
Head Coach Brian Schmack: Brian Schmack, the 17th head baseball coach in Valparaiso University history, is in his third season at the helm of the Crusaders. He led Valparaiso to 25 wins in his inaugural campaign, a school record for victories by a first-year skipper. The former big-leaguer followed that up with a 22-win season in 2015. 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, seven pitchers have gone on to play professional baseball including Bryce Shafer, Dallas Cawiezell, and Karch Kowalczyk who were selected in the MLB Draft.
Probable Starters: Dalton Lundeen (5-3, 3.47) will toe the slab at Emory G. Bauer Field for the final time in his career Thursday. Trevor Haas (4-1, 3.07) will put his 2-0 home record on the line Friday before Ellis Foreman (1-2, 3.72) seeks to build upon his stellar start last weekend against Oakland in Saturday’s finale.
Series Notes: Valpo holds an overwhelming 56-19 edge over Youngstown State in a series that began in 1992. The Crusaders and Penguins split a doubleheader last Friday at Eastwood Field in Niles. The Brown and Gold are 21-5 at home versus YSU since the 2008 season.
Looking Back: Valpo finished 2015 with a 22-31 record overall, but a 15-14 mark in the Horizon League. The offense experienced a 53-point uptick in batting average and a 67-point increase in slugging percentage from the season prior. Senior Spencer Mahoney obtained the school record for career walks with 138 while moving into 8th-place all-time for career hits (216). Junior starting pitcher Dalton Lundeen amassed 94 strikeouts in 93 2/3 innings pitched while winning five games for the third straight year.
Seeding Scenarios: The Crusaders are holding out hope for the No. 2 seed, and more importantly, the first-round bye in next week’s Horizon League Championship. The Penguins need victories in all three contests to overtake Northern Kentucky for the sixth and final spot in the tourney. If Valpo sweeps and Wright State wins two of three at UIC, the Crusaders would leapfrog the Flames in the standings. Valpo could also surpass Milwaukee with a sweep and Oakland taking two of three in its series with the Panthers at home.
In the Other Dugout: It took 83 days before Valpo and Youngstown State finally met on the diamond in 2016, and now they’ll face off against one another for the third, fourth, and fifth times in a week. The Crusaders and Penguins split last Friday’s doubleheader in Ohio.
Valpo will see RHP Jeremy Quinlan (2-7, 5.37) and LHP Joe King (2-6, 4.95) again in this series. The Crusaders knocked King around in his four innings last Friday. He surrendered eight runs on ten hits and three walks. Quinlan yielded three runs - one earned - in 4 1/3 frames. The righty punched out four batters opposite two walks in his tenure on the bump. Valpo racked up 21 runs and 32 hits in the doubleheader, but settled for a split.
Billy Salem and Gerrad Rohan, both Akron refugees, have been solid offensive contributors in their first seasons at Youngstown State. Rohan delivered the walk-off ground-rule double in game two last Friday to help YSU earn a split. Fellow newcomer Andrew Kendrick, a Highland Community College transfer, paces the Penguins in home runs (4) and slugging percentage (.383).
Ode to the Class of 2016: Valpo has received an enormous amount of production from its senior class. Lundeen’s accomplishments are touched upon in further depth below. Trevor Haas has emerged as a vital weekend starter in his final season at Valparaiso. Reliever Bryce Yoder enters Thursday having made 71 career appearances while notching seven saves, the eighth-most in program history. Ryan Fritze has accumulated 90 strikeouts and six wins in 109 2/3 IP. Scott Jerge notched a win, a save, and 11 Ks in his time with the Crusaders. Jeff Edwards has served as one of the Crusaders’ steadiest gloves in the infield while chipping in quite nicely on the offensive side this season (.321 BA). Josh Clark, Dan Delaney, Nolan Lodden, and Shea Molitor have been treasure chests of offensive efficiency. Together, they’ve combined for 271 runs scored, 468 hits, 91 doubles, 22 dingers, and 272 RBIs in their brief careers at Valpo. Luke Syens made the remarkable transition from the mound to the batter’s box where he has surfaced as a power threat. Dustin Beasley lost the majority of 2016 to a knee injury, but smashed twelve extra-base hits last season.
The Dalton Lundeen File: Senior Dalton Lundeen is in the twilight of one of the most magnificent careers by a pitcher in Valparaiso University history. He enters this weekend with 20 wins (4th in program history), 329 2/3 innings pitched (most), and 270 strikeouts (3rd-most). Lundeen became the all-time IP leader last Friday at YSU and needs 24 more Ks to tie Jon Robisch for No. 2 in career strikeouts.
Driftless Drivel: Dan Delaney is 18-for-35 (.514) with nine RBIs in nine career games versus Youngstown State...Dalton Lundeen is going for his first win at home in 2016 (0-1)...Valpo has hit exactly two home runs in a game eight times this season...Ryan Fritze owns a 1.93 earned-run average at home opposite an 8.61 road ERA... Lundeen is 6-1 with a 1.77 ERA for his career vs. YSU. Jake Hanson is both 8-for-22 at Emory G. Bauer Field and away from home.