After starting the conference season 4-5 in the Horizon League, the Valparaiso baseball team won 18 of its final 21 conference games to win the 2012 regular season crown outright.
The Crusaders entered the final weekend of conference play trailing Wright State in the standings, but Valpo swept Youngstown State and Milwaukee helped the Crusaders by sweeping Wright State to allow Valparaiso to claim its first Horizon League regular season title since joining the conference in the 2008 season.
Valparaiso (32-22, 22-8) enters the tournament having won 24 of its last 28 regular season games and has gone from 10 games under .500 on April 3 to finishing the regular season 10 games over .500.
The top-seeded Crusaders will begin their regular season title defense on Thursday after receiving a bye through Wednesday’s games.
Wright State (36-19, 20-10) will be the No. 2 in the upcoming conference tournament. The Raiders won eight of their 10 conference series this season, but they dropped two-of-three games to Valparaiso the first weekend of May and then were swept by Milwaukee in their final regular season series, which allowed the Crusaders to catch them.
The No. 2 seed still gives WSU a bye as the Raiders will begin their tournament on Thursday.
Milwaukee (26-25, 18-11) will be the No. 3 seed in the season-ending tournament. The Panthers are the league’s other hot team as UWM carries an eight-game conference winning streak into the tournament.
The Panthers will face sixth-seeded Youngstown State (9-42, 7-23) in a first round matchup on Wednesday.
The 2012 tournament host and fourth-seed in the tournament is UIC (19-32, 12-17). The Flames will face the No. 5 seed, Butler (22-32, 10-20) in the first game of the tournament on Wednesday. The two teams played each other in the final weekend of the regular season with the Flames capturing the series by winning two of three games.
The 2012 Horizon League baseball tournament will begin on Wednesday at Les Miller Field on UIC's campus. All games will be shown on the Horizon League Network.
Tags: Valparaiso - Baseball