The Youngstown State baseball team will head to North Carolina for the second straight weekend and play four games in three days at Charlotte. The Penguins and 49ers will play a single game on Friday starting at 4 p.m., a doubleheader on Saturday starting at noon, and a single game on Sunday at 1 p.m. Live stats and live video will be available for all four games on charlotte49ers.com.
Following the four games in three days against the 49ers, Youngstown State will remain on the road to play single games on Tuesday and Wednesday at Morehead State.
The Penguins have gone 1-3 in each of their first two weekend trips, taking one out of four games at Samford two weeks ago and beating West Virginia last week in a four-game series that included two contests each against the Mountaineers and Wake Forest. The Penguins beat WVU 10-7 last Friday in the first of their four games in Winston-Salem, N.C., and they led Wake Forest 5-4 heading into the bottom of the ninth before losing 6-5 in the weekend finale. YSU also dropped an 8-2 decision to Wake Forest and a 7-3 contest to West Virginia last weekend.
Senior right-hander Robert Switka is the reigning Horizon League Pitcher of the Week after holding the Demon Deacons to just an infield single in five shutout innings last Sunday. He is scheduled to start the second game of Saturday's doubleheader against Charlotte. Junior third baseman Drew Dosch continues to lead the Penguins at the plate with a .429 batting average, and Kris Moules is batting .357 with a team-best seven RBIs. Three other Penguins regulars – Mike Accardi, Phil Lipari and Marcus Heath – are batting at least .280.
YSU's Probable Rotation vs. Charlotte
Game 1 – Patrick O'Brien: O'Brien is 1-1 with a 3.75 ERA in his first two starts, both of which lasted six innings. The junior right-hander held Samford to one run on two hits while striking out four on Feb. 17 to earn YSU's first win of the season. He then allowed four earned runs on seven hits in six innings last Saturday against West Virginia. O'Brien made 10 starts last year, going 1-6 with a 5.59 ERA.
Game 2 – Blake Aquadro – Aquadro pitched the first game of each of YSU's first two weekends, and he is 1-1 with a 7.88 ERA. The senior southpaw allowed three runs in three innings (on a three-run homer) in the season opener at Samford on Feb. 15. He then surrendered four runs on seven hits in five innings in a winning effort over West Virginia on Feb. 22. Aquadro started 15 games last year and finished 3-9.
Game 3 – Robert Switka – Switka is the reigning Horizon League Pitcher of the Week, an award he earned after holding Wake Forest scoreless over five innings on Feb. 24. The senior righty allowed just an infield single in the third inning, and he worked around four walks before leaving with a 3-0 lead after the fifth. He allowed three earned runs in 3.1 innings in his first start of the season at Samford on Feb. 16. Switka was limited to five relief appearances in the first 10 games last year before missing the rest of the campaign with an injury.
Game 4 – Ryan Krokos – Krokos is in line to make his second start of the season in the series finale against Charlotte. He came out of the bullpen on Feb. 15 against Samford, allowing two runs in 1.1 innings. The sophomore righty made his first start of the season on Feb. 22 against Wake Forest, allowing three runs on five hits and four walks in four innings. Krokos was 2-4 with a7.74 ERA last season when he made four starts and 21 relief appearances.
Charlotte is 4-2 overall and 3-0 at home heading into this weekend's series versus YSU. The 49ers play their next 13 games at home while the Penguins are playing their first 23 games of the season on the road. Charlotte has wins over Delaware State, High Point, Pfeiffer and Marshall, and its losses are to North Carolina State and Wake Forest. Justin Seager is batting a team-high .455, and two other players are hitting at least .407. The 49ers are hitting .310 as a team. Justin Roland has reached base in 35 consecutive games dating back to last season. Right-hander Tyler Barnette will pitch against O'Brien in game one of the series on Friday, and left-hander John Hamilton will counter Aquadro in game one of Saturday's doubleheader. Righty Brock Hudgens will pitch against Krokos in the series finale on Sunday. The 49ers have not announced the starting pitcher for game two of Saturday's doubleheader.
Scouting Morehead State
Morehead State is 4-5 heading into a three-game home series with Ball State this weekend. The Eagles won their first three games of the season over Alabama A&M, IPFW and Indiana State, and they went 1-4 against Gardner-Webb last weekend. Five Morehead State regulars are batting at least .300 with Alan Mocahbee leading the way at .361. Opponents have stolen 26 bases in nine games against the Eagles. Morehead State has not announced its starters for the games against YSU, but its pitching staff has a 4.35 ERA and is holding hitters to a .257 batting average.