Baseball’s Home, Horizon League Opener Set for Friday

Pat Shedlock
Pat Shedlock

The Youngstown State baseball team will open the home and Horizon League portion of its schedule this weekend with a three-game series against Milwaukee at Eastwood Field. The teams will start the series on Friday at 3 p.m. before playing a game Saturday at 1 p.m. and another on Sunday at noon. Live stats for all three games will be available on YSUsports.com. The Penguins are coming off a 10-4 loss to Norfolk State on Tuesday, but they picked up their first victory of the season on Sunday at VMI, 10-2. YSU is 1-13 overall, and Milwaukee is 4-10.

On the Mound

Left-hander Blake Aquadro was followed by righties Patrick O’Brien and Pat Shedlock last week, and that is the plan again for YSU. Aquadro was tagged with five earned runs and two unearned tallies in his six-inning start last week against VMI. For the year, the junior southpaw is 0-3 with a 10.38 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 17.1 innings. O’Brien allowed five earned runs on nine hits while striking out four in five innings at VMI in his last start. The sophomore right-hander is 0-3 with an 8.31 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 17.1 innings through four starts. Shedlock did not factor in the decision in his last start, but the junior righty held VMI to two runs on four hits in six innings in YSU’s 10-2 victory. For the year, Shedlock is 0-1 with an 8.00 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 18 innings over his first four starts.

Scouting Milwaukee

Milwaukee has started 4-10 this season against a tough non-conference schedule, which included four games against teams in the top 25. The Panthers won the finale of their three-game series at Arkansas-Little Rock last weekend, and they beat Minnesota twice to close out February. Milwaukee, traditionally one of the top offensive teams in the Horizon League, does not have a regular player hitting above .275. The Panthers have a 5.64 ERA as a staff, which ranks third in the conference. Right-handers Eric Semmelhack (0-3, 4.09 ERA) and Cale Tassi (0-2, 3.96 ERA) and lefty Mike Schneider (0-3, 4.94 ERA) are the Panthers’ projected starters. UWM returns 21 letterwinners, five position starters and four starting pitchers from last year’s squad that went 28-28-1 and finished third in the conference standings.

Banks Collects Weekly Honors

YSU senior Jeremy Banks is the reigning Horizon League Batter of the Week and CollegeBaseballInsider.com Central Region Player of the Week. Banks hit .545 with two doubles, three home runs and eight RBIs in a three-game series at VMI last weekend. He drew three walks and was hit by a pitch to post an on-base percentage of .667. In Sunday's 10-2 win over the Keydets, Banks hit a solo homer in the first inning and a go-ahead three-run round tripper in the eighth.

Banks Leading Horizon League in Several Categories

Jeremy Banks has been the hottest hitter in the Horizon League through the first month of the season. Banks leads the conference in batting average (.463), on-base percentage (.559), slugging percentage (.889), RBIs (24), home runs (5) and doubles (8). His five home runs are more than four teams’ totals.

Dosch Nearing Freshman Totals

Sophomore third baseman Drew Dosch is close to matching his total offensive output from his freshman season. Through 14 games this season, Dosch is batting .352 with 11 runs, three doubles, two home runs, eight RBIs and 12 walks. Last season, he batted .262 with 15 runs, one double, no homers, 11 RBIs and 14 walks. Dosch had one extra-base hit last year, and he has five already this season. As a result, his slugging percentage in 2012 is nearly double what it was last year.

Shirley Settling In

Freshman outfielder Jason Shirley has started to settle in nicely as YSU’s starting left fielder. He has reached base safely in seven straight games, and his six-game hitting streak that was snapped on Tuesday is the longest by a Penguin this season. He batted .333 over that six-game stretch after starting the season 0-for-9 at the plate. He is tied for the team lead with two stolen bases, and he has not committed an error in 14 chances in the field.

Shedlock Gives Quality Start

Junior right-hander Pat Shedlock has put together back-to-back strong starts on the mound. He allowed four runs on five hits in six innings two weeks ago against Akron. Two of those runs scored after he handed the ball to the bullpen. Shedlock then gave the Penguins their first quality start of the season (three earned runs or fewer in at least six innings) against VMI last Sunday. He allowed two runs on four hits in six innings while striking out four in a no-decision. YSU went on to win that game 10-2 by outscoring the Keydets 9-0 over the final two innings. Shedlock is in his first season at YSU after pitching previously at Cleveland State and Cuyahoga Community College.

Manuppelli Picks Up From Strong End to 2011

Sophomore right-hander Nic Manuppelli has started 2012 in the same dominant fashion he ended 2011. Manuppelli has allowed one earned run in six innings of relief for a 1.50 ERA. He has struck out seven batters in his six innings, and he has surrendered just three hits. Manuppelli allowed one earned run over his final 10 innings of 2011.

About Horizon League Openers

YSU is 4-6 in its previous 10 Horizon League openers. The Penguins’ wins came in 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2010. They’ve opened conference play at home just once since joining the conference prior to the 2002 season, and YSU was on the road to start Horizon League play for each of the past seven seasons. YSU has never started its Horizon League season against Milwaukee.

Up Next

Youngstown State will host Notre Dame College at Cene Park on Tuesday at 3 p.m.