Baseball Prepares for Three Games in Kissimmee Irish Classic

Cody Dennis
Cody Dennis

The Youngstown State baseball team will head to Kissimmee, Fla. this weekend for three games in the Kissimmee Irish Classic hosted by Notre Dame at Osceola County Stadium. The Penguins will play Notre Dame at 6:30 p.m. Eastern on Friday, Seattle at 5 p.m. on Saturday and Seton Hall at 10:45 a.m. on Sunday.

Live stats will be available for the games on Friday and Sunday through links on YSUsports.com. Live audio will be available for Friday's game against Notre Dame via UND.com.

Scouting Opponents

Notre Dame (4-3) has lost two of its last three games heading into Friday's contest. The Fighting Irish have been led by infielder Nick Podkul who is hitting .478 with 11 hits while outfielder/infielder Erich Gilgenbach has four home runs and 13 RBIs.

Seattle (5-4) enters the event having lost three straight following a five-game win streak. The Redhawks are led by infielder Sean Sutton and outfielder Cameron Sterne who are each batting .412 on the season.

Seton Hall (2-4) has lost two of its last three games heading into the weekend. Catcher/outfielder Mike Alescio leads the Pirates with a .409 batting average and nine hits.

YSU's only previous meeting with Notre Dame was a 6-3 loss on March 1, 2014. This will be the first time the Penguins have faced both Seattle and Seton Hall on the diamond.

Recapping Last Week

No. 13 Louisville held YSU to just three runs in three games as they swept a three-game set at Jim Patterson Stadium. The Penguins lost 11-0 on Friday, 8-1 on Saturday and 12-2 on Sunday. YSU has now dropped straight five straight contests after winning its season opener at Belmont on Feb. 16. Greg Dunham (1-1), Collin Floyd (0-2) and Kip DeShields (0-2) each suffered losses for Youngstown State in the series.

Newcomers Make Immediate Impact

The Penguins have seen a number of their 23 newcomers step up in a big way during the first six games of the season. Greg Dunham allowed just one run on four hits over six innings in the season opener to earn the win in his debut. Nick Caruso leads the team with a .417 batting average, a pair of two-run doubles and four RBIs. Drew Dickerson went 4-for-10 with three walks and three runs scored at Belmont while Zach Lopatka recorded three hits including a double and two RBIs. Blaze Glenn has a two-run homer and three RBIs to his credit while Cody Dennis has added five base hits. Jeff Wehler had a big game this past Sunday, going 2-for-4 with a single, an RBI and the first home run of his career.

Career Firsts for Wehler

Freshman infielder Jeff Wehler registered two singles, a solo home run, an RBI and two runs scored in three games this past weekend against No. 13 Louisville. Wehler went 2-for-4 with a single and the first home run of his career on Sunday. He scored YSU's only two runs on the day and also stole the first two bases of his career. Wehler has hit leadoff three times and is poised to be a major part of the lineup moving forward.

Caruso Leads Penguins Offense

Junior catcher Nick Caruso went 5-for-8 with two doubles and four RBIs in two games played against Belmont during the opening weekend. Caruso, a transfer from Macomb Community College, went 3-for-4 with a walk, a run scored, two singles and a two-run double in the season opener on Feb. 16. He then went 2-for-4 with a single and a two-run double on Feb. 18. Caruso leads YSU with a .417 average and four RBIs.

Hot Start for Hake

Junior right-hander Joel Hake has had a superb start to the 2018 season. He has allowed just two hits and one unearned run over 3.2 innings while striking out six in three appearances out of the bullpen. The side-winder came on in the eighth inning during the season opener on Feb. 16 and retired Belmont in order in the ninth to record the save. The Youngstown native is one of four returning pitchers from last year's squad.

Up Next

The Penguins will face a quick turnaround as they will leave Florida and travel directly to Lynchburg, Va. for two games against Liberty March 6-7. The team will then play a three-game series at Radford March 9-11. In all, YSU is scheduled to play eight games in 10 days and will be spend 12 straight days on the road.

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