Penguins Continue Road Trip with Two-Game Set at Liberty

Joel Hake (Photo by David Dermer)
Joel Hake (Photo by David Dermer)

The Youngstown State baseball team will travel directly to Lynchburg, Va. this week after playing three games at the Kissimmee Irish Classic in Kissimmee, Fla. over the weekend. The Penguins will face the Liberty Flames at Liberty Baseball Stadium on Tuesday and Wednesday with both games scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. ET.

Live stats will be available throughout the series through links on YSUsports.com. Both games will also be broadcast live on ESPN3 and WatchESPN.

Quick Notes Around the Diamond

  • YSU won its first season opener since 2010 with a 8-4 victory at Belmont on Feb. 16. 
  • Six different Penguins making their first starts in the batting order had hits in the opener
  • Sophomore right-hander Greg Dunham earned the win in his first start on Feb. 16. He allowed one run on four hits over six innings to earn the win in his Penguins debut
  • This year's roster features 11 returning letterwinners, 12 returners overall and 23 newcomers.
  • The group of newcomers includes 13 freshmen and 10 transfers. A number of the new players have already been significant contributors through nine games this season.

A YSU Win Would…

  • Snap an eight-game losing streak
  • Give the Penguins their second road win of the season
  • Give the Penguins their first win over Liberty

Scouting Liberty

Liberty enters its series with YSU on a four-game losing streak after starting the season 6-1. The Flames were swept in their most recent series against No. 20 North Carolina and are coming off a 13-8 loss on Sunday. Junior catcher Tre Todd leads the Flames with three home runs, a .407 batting average and an .852 slugging percentage. Todd is tied for the team lead with 11 hits and is second with 11 RBIs. Sophomore utility man Jonathan Embry has 11 hits as well and is second on the team with a .307 average at the plate. Junior infielder Dylan Allen is hitting .294 with two home runs and a team-best 13 RBIs. Right-hander Zach Clinton will make his second start of the year for the Flames on Tuesday. The junior is 1-2 with a 4.97 ERA so far this season. The Flames are 6-1 this season at Liberty Baseball Stadium. Tuesday's game will be the first meeting between Liberty and Youngstown State on the diamond.

Recapping Last Week

Youngstown State dropped three games at the Kissimmee Irish Classic in Kissimmee, Fla. this past weekend. The Penguins fell 8-0 to Notre Dame on Friday, 5-2 to Seattle on Saturday and 11-3 to Seton Hall on Sunday. YSU has now dropped eight straight contests after winning its season opener at Belmont on Feb. 16. Greg Dunham (1-2), Collin Floyd (0-3) and Zach Lopatka (0-1) all suffered losses on the mound for the Penguins. Floyd struck out 11 of the 26 batters he faced over 6.1 innings against Seattle on Saturday. He allowed three runs on seven hits and walked just one batter in a hard-luck loss.

Newcomers Make Immediate Impact

A number of YSU's 23 newcomers have played major roles through the first nine games of the season. Nick Caruso leads the Penguins with a .286 batting average and two doubles while being tied for the team lead with four RBIs. Blaze Glenn leads the team with nine hits, 13 total bases and a .406 slugging percentage. He is tied for the team lead with four RBIs and one home run while ranking second with a .281 batting average. Jeff Wehler had a big game on Feb. 25 at No. 13 Louisville, going 2-for-4 with a single, an RBI and the first home run of his career. He scored the only two runs of the day for YSU and also stole the first two bases of his career. Cody Dennis, Kip DeShields, Drew Dickerson, Greg Dunham and Zach Lopatka among others have seen significant playing time in their first season with the program.

Blazin' Hot

Sophomore outfielder Blaze Glenn has been on fire at the plate over the last few games. The transfer from Sinclair Community College went 3-for-4 with three singles, a run scored, an RBI and his first stolen base of the season on Saturday against Seattle. He followed that up by going 2-for-5 with a pair of singles against Seton Hall on Sunday. Glenn  has started all nine games this season in right field and leads YSU with nine hits, 13 total bases and a .406 slugging percentage. He is tied for the team lead with four RBIs and one home run while ranking second with a .281 batting average.

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 .286 batting average and has four RBIs.

Hot Start for Hake

Junior right-hander Joel Hake has had a superb start to the 2018 season. He has allowed just four hits and one earned run over 4.2 innings while striking out eight in four 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.

Lopatka Playing Two Ways

Junior Zach Lopatka has showcased his skills as a position player and as a pitcher this season. The transfer from Lackawanna College has started five games in left field, three as the designated hitter and one on the mound. Lopatka is tied for second on the team with six hits and has made three pitching appearances. The left-hander made his first start on the bump this past Sunday against Seton Hall at the Kissimmee Irish Classic.

Career Firsts for Wehler

Freshman infielder Jeff Wehler registered two singles, a solo home run, an RBI and two runs scored in three games at No. 13 Louisville. Wehler went 2-for-4 with a single and the first home run of his career in the series finale on Feb 25. He scored YSU's only two runs of the day and also stole the first two bases of his career. Wehler has hit in the leadoff spot four times and is poised to be a major part of the lineup moving forward.

Up Next

Youngstown State will face another quick turnaround as they will leave Lynchburg and travel directly to Radford, Va. for three games against Radford March 9-11. After the series against the Highlanders, the Penguins will have played eight games in 10 days and spent 12 straight days on the road. 

Baseball 2018 Season Preview
February 6, 2018 Baseball 2018 Season Preview