Road Games at Bowling Green, NKU on Tap for Baseball This Week

Alex Bellardini (Photo by John Schiraldi)
Alex Bellardini (Photo by John Schiraldi)

The Youngstown State baseball team will try to carry momentum from a series win this past weekend into four road games this week. The Penguins will play at Bowling Green at 3:05 p.m. on Tuesday, and they will begin a three-game Horizon League series at Northern Kentucky on Friday at 3 p.m. YSU and NKU will also play on Saturday at 1 p.m. and on Sunday at noon. All three games of the series against NKU are scheduled to be streamed live on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app.

YSU swept a doubleheader against Oakland on Saturday for its first Horizon League and Eastwood Field victories of the season. After dropping the series opener 10-6 on Friday, the Penguins responded with 5-4 and 12-4 triumphs on Saturday to win the series. Nico Padovan hit a go-ahead two-run home run in the seventh inning in the game one win, and the Penguins scored seven runs in the first inning en route to the win in game two. Padovan's home run was one of four round trippers hit by the Penguins over the weekend, which ups their season total to a Horizon League-leading 25.

Padovan is one of three Penguins hitting above .280, and five of his teammates are hitting at least .260. YSU has been a much-improved offensive club this season, averaging 1.16 more runs per game in 2017 than in 2016. In fact, the 4.95 runs per game that the team is averaging this season is the most by a Penguins squad since 2010. YSU has hit 25 home runs, which is already the most since 2010, and the team is averaging a school-record 1.25 home runs per game.

On the pitching side, YSU got a pair of solid starts on Saturday from senior right-handers Kevin Yarabinec and Jeremy Quinlan. Yarabinec struck out eight batters and allowed just one earned run over six innings in game one, and Quinlan surrendered two earned runs in five innings. Javier Alvarez will make his first start on the mound this week against Bowling Green, and Yarabinec, Collin Floyd and Quinlan will start against NKU.

Youngstown State has added a game at Kent State to next week's schedule and will travel to play the Golden Flashes on April 4 at 4 p.m. The Penguins will then begin a four-game home stand when they host Wright State on April 7.

Scouting Bowling Green: Bowling Green will head into Tuesday's game with a 5-15 record. The Falcons opened MAC play over the weekend by winning one of three games at Eastern Michigan. Bowling Green has two batters hitting above .290, but the Falcons are hitting .214 as a team, which ranks 10th in the conference. The Falcons were picked to finish fourth in the MAC East in the conference preseason poll. Left-hander Chandler Stillings will start for Bowling Green on Tuesday.

Scouting Northern Kentucky: NKU is 8-13 overall and 3-0 in Horizon League play, and it has a pair of midweek games against Miami (Ohio) and Dayton before hosting YSU over the weekend. The Norse swept Milwaukee to start league play two weeks ago, and they took one of three against Cincinnati this past weekend in what was their bye week in the conference schedule. Jake Richmond and Dominic Mercurio are both hitting .333, which ranks fifth in the league, and Richmond leads the conference with a .464 on-base percentage. NKU was picked to finish fifth in the Horizon League preseason poll of the conference's coaches.