After picking up its first victory of the season last weekend, the Youngstown State begins a busy stretch with a three-game series this weekend at Tennessee Tech. Game one of the series is set for Friday at 4 p.m., game two is set for Saturday at 3 p.m. and Sunday's finale is scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday starts a stretch for the Penguins where they play eight games in 10 days. YSU earned its first win on Sunday at Cincinnati behind a strong pitching outing from Kevin McCulloh and Padraic Williams. Tennessee Tech is 4-9
On the Mound
Youngstown State will switch its Friday and Sunday starters this week. Robert Switka, who threw game three the first three weeks, will pitch game one on Friday against TTU. Switka threw just 55 pitches last weekend and is the freshest of the starters. Kevin McCulloh will remain in the No. 2 spot after earning the win against Cincinnati last weekend. Phil Klein will slide from No. 1 to the finale. Klein has struck out 14 batters in 12.2 innings.
Scouting Tennessee Tech
Tennessee Tech has started the season 4-9 and has lost its last three contests. The Golden Eagles also lost their first three games and had a three-game winning streak to start March. Freshman first baseman Zach Stevens leads Tech in most offensive categories and is batting .423. TTU is hitting .252 as a team. Probable game-one starter Tristan Archer has two of Tech's four wins. The Golden Eagles won the Ohio Valley Conference regular season title last year and has won at least 30 games in three straight years.
Youngstown State has played at Tennessee Tech for one series in its history. The Penguins lost two out of three from March 14-16, 2003. YSU won the opener 4-2 before losing 8-3 and 19-3.
McCulloh is Most-Reliable Starter
Through the first three weeks of the season, YSU sophomore Kevin McCulloh has definitely performed at an ace level. Last weekend at Cincinnati, McCulloh allowed one run on five hits while striking out a season-high eight batters to lead YSU to a win over Cincinnati. Statistically, his best start was his first when he threw six scoreless innings and struck out seven at East Carolina on Feb. 19. McCulloh's ERA is 2.70 heading into this weekend. He ha s struck out a team-high 16 batters and pitched a team-best 16.2 innings.
Williams is Top Bullpen Option
After pitching in just one game last season, sophomore Padraic Williams has become YSU's top option in the late innings. Williams has pitched in four games this season and has been outstanding in two of them. In his most-recent outing on March 6, he held Cincinnati without a hit over three innings to earn his first collegiate save. He threw two scoreless innings and struck out three in his first appearance at East Carolina on Feb. 20.
Freshmen Hitters Solid at UC
A pair of freshmen hitters led the Penguins at the plate last weekend at Cincinnati. Drew Dosch had three hits in eight at bats and drew two walks. He was also perfect on all eight of his chances in the field. Phil Lipari hit .286 and drove in YSU's two runs in the win over the Bearcats on March 6. Lipari was 10-for-10 on chances in the field.
YSU stays on the road to play at Xavier on March 16, The Penguins will then play four games at the Pittsburgh Panther Classic March 18-20.