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Valpo Aims to Get Back on Track Versus UIC This Weekend
Thursday, April 04, 2013
UIC (13-13, 3-3 Horizon)
Friday, April 5th, 3:00 p.m. CDT
Emory G. Bauer Field - Valparaiso, Indiana
This Week in Crusader Baseball: After a win in its home opener Monday, Valpo lost a devastating tilt 3-1 Wednesday at 20th-ranked Notre Dame. Valparaiso resumes Horizon League play as UIC comes to town. Valpo had the Flames’ number last season going 6-3 against Mike Dee’s club. The Crusaders need to gain ground this weekend if they wish to retain their regular season crown. The end of this series represents the halfway mark of the 2013 season.
Series Notes: The all-time series is tight between Valpo and UIC, with Flames owning a 54-50 edge; however, the Crusaders have won ten of the last fourteen meetings including a 14-5 rout on May 27th last year that sent Valpo to the NCAA Tournament. Valpo took both regular season series 2-1, and also went 2-1 against UIC in the Horizon League Tournament.
Scouting the Flames: UIC currently stands at 13-13 overall. The Flames took two of three from visiting Youngstown State on the first weekend of conference play. Milwaukee came in the next weekend and shutout UIC twice before the Panthers dropped a one-run decision Sunday. The Flames opened the season with a 2-0 win over #24 Texas A&M in College Station. They also defeated a strong Indiana State club 6-2 last week. Starting pitching has ignited the Flames so far, as all three starters in this series sport sub-3.00 ERAs.
Sophomore Tomas Michelson joined the rotation this season and has been an innings-eater for UIC. The right-hander has worked 47 1/3 frames and his strikeout-to-walk ratio sits at a little better than two-to-one (31 K: 14 BB). Base runners have been successful eight times on nine attempts against him. Michelson made the start against Valpo in the first game of the 2012 Horizon League Tournament. He threw 7 1/3 innings in the 4-3 loss, allowing four runs.
Joey Begel gets the ball Saturday for UIC and could be just what the doctor ordered for the Valpo offense. Begel’s career line against the Crusaders reads: 5 GS, 24 1/3 IP, 36 H, 25 ER, 12 BB, 8 K good for a 9.25 ERA and a 1.97 WHIP. Valparaiso has never lost a game in which the senior has thrown a pitch. The right-hander has kept the walks down in 2013, issuing just ten free passes in 39 1/3 innings. Opponents are batting just .220 against him.
Et Cetera: Through 27 games, Valpo has neither scored nor allowed double digits runs in a contest...At 10-17, the Crusaders sit one game ahead of where they were a year ago at this point...It was on April 5th, 2012 that the Crusaders opened a series against UIC. From that point forward, Valpo went 24-4 to close out the regular season...Cole Webb has turned in a quality start in all but one of his seven starts...Andrew Bain is 14-for-26 (.538) at the plate with runners in scoring position...Kyle Wormington has faced the Flames three times, owning a 1-2 record with a 3.13 ERA...Ryan Shober appears to have rediscovered his swing. After enduring an abysmal junior season where he went 11-for-96 (.115), Shober is now batting .273 and leads UIC in runs scored and stolen bases.