The Youngstown State baseball team will conclude its four-game home stand with a contest on Tuesday against Ohio. First pitch against the Bobcats is set for 3 p.m. Live stats will be available on YSUsports.com for the contest, which is the only scheduled meeting between the two teams in the 2012 season.
On The Mound
Freshman right-hander Russ Harless is expected to be the starting pitcher for Youngstown State, but he’ll be on a strict pitch count in preparation for a probable start on the weekend. Harless has made three previous starts, including as a member of the conference rotation each of the past two weekends. On Friday against Valparaiso in his most-recent start, he allowed seven runs on 10 hits in 7 2-3 innings. Six of the runs scored on two three-run home runs, and one of the runs against him was unearned. The 7 2-3 innings accounted for the longest outing by a YSU starter this season.
Ohio won two out of three games against Ball State over the weekend to improve its record to 18-17 overall and 8-4 in MAC play. The Bobcats are 6-3 in April. Freshman Jake Madsen is hitting a team-high .381 and is one seven players with more than 60 at bats who is hitting above .290. Senior Jensen Painter leads the MAC with 11 home runs. Senior right-hander Shane Dedig, who is 1-1 with a 3.18 ERA in four appearances, will start for the Bobcats.
- Senior first baseman Jeremy Banks returned from a shoulder injury to have a productive week at the plate over the weekend. Banks, who missed 14 games, had one hit in each game against Valparaiso over the weekend. He still continues to rank among the Horizon League’s top 10 in home runs (3rd), doubles (third) and RBIs (7th), and he would own the top spot in batting average, slugging percentage and on-base percentage if he met the minimum number of at bats.
- Although Drew Dosch was kept off base on Saturday against Valparaiso, the sophomore third baseman has reached base in 32 of YSU’s 34 games this season.
- Marcus Heath batted .429 in four games last week while posting his first career triple. Heath has a modest five-game hitting streak heading into this week, and he’s raised his average to .259.
- Phil Lipari came back from a minor injury to record hits in all three games against Valparaiso.
- David Leon had two multi-hit games in the three-game series against Valpo. The senior was 2-for-4 and posted his first multi-RBI game of the season in Sunday’s series finale.
- Russ Harless provided YSU with its longest outing by a starting pitcher this season when he went 7 2-3 innings against Valparaiso on Friday. Six of the seven runs that scored against him came on home runs.
- Blake Aquadro had his best start of the season against Valpo on Sunday, holding the Crusaders to two earned runs on six hits in 6 1-3 innings. He left with the game tied at 3-3. Aquadro did not walk a batter after surrendering five free passes in 3 1-3 innings in his previous start at Wright State.
- Ryan Krokos allowed just one earned run over eight innings in two appearances last week. He surrendered just three hits - two at Kent State and one against Valparaiso. The redshirt freshman’s ERA currently sits at 5.40, which is its lowest since Feb. 26.
- YSU’s pitchers entered last weekend averaging 7.05 strikeouts per nine innings through 31 games. The Penguins struck out six Crusader hitters in 27 innings.
Youngstown State will head to Milwaukee for a three-game Horizon League series against the Panthers. Game one of the series will be Friday at 4 p.m. Eastern, followed by a game Saturday at 2 p.m. and another on Sunday at 1 p.m.