The Youngstown State baseball team will welcome Horizon League-leading Milwaukee to Eastwood Field for a three-game series this weekend. The Penguins and Panthers will play at 3 p.m. on Friday and at 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Live video of all three games will be streamed on HorizonLeague.com, and live stats will also be available through YSUsports.com.
Although this is just YSU's third of eight conference series this season, this weekend holds big implications on how the standings could take shape later in the season. Milwaukee is the only team above .500 with a 7-2 conference record, and Youngstown State and UIC are tied for second with a 3-3 mark. YSU has a chance to close the game by winning the series, and the Panthers could really gain separation in the standings.
All three of Milwaukee's weekend starters have an ERA under 3.80, and YSU struggled at the plate during its two games this week. The Penguins scored 20 runs in three games at Wright State last week, but they were held to two hits in a shutout at Ohio State on Tuesday and had two hits through the first six innings against Akron on Wednesday. Youngstown State had six hits in the final three frames against the Zips in the 5-4 loss. Mike Accardi was 2-for-3 and walked twice, and David Saluga and Josh White both had two hits apiece. The second through fifth spots in the line-up combined to go 0-for-16 with one walk.
Horizon League Preseason Player of the Year Drew Dosch continues to lead the Penguins with a .305 batting average, and Kris Moules is right behind at .293. Starters Accardi, White and Marcus Heath are all starters batting above .260, and Nick DiNello is hitting .343 in 35 at bats. Dosch leads the Horizon League in doubles and ranks second in on-base percentage and runs scored. Heath ranks second in both RBIs and runs scored.
Milwaukee won two of three games at Wright State and UIC and swept Valparaiso last weekend to improve to a league-best 7-2 in conference games. Friday's starter, Jake Long, has not allowed a run in his last 26 innings and has been named the Horizon League Pitcher of the Week three straight times. Saturday starter, Cale Tassi, was the Preseason Pitcher of the Year. Offensively, Michael Porcaro and Mitch Ghelfi have the top two batting averages in the conference, and Milwaukee is hitting a league-best .283 as a team.
- Game 1: YSU LHP Blake Aquadro (2-3, 4.11 ERA, 14 K, 15 BB, 35.0 IP) vs. Jake Long (3-2, 1.52 ERA, 19 K, 17 BB, 41.1 IP)
- Game 2: YSU RHP Patrick O'Brien (1-3, 4.50 ERA, 27 K, 8 BB, 38.0 IP) vs. Cale Tassi (3-3, 3.73 ERA, 26 K, 24 BB, 41.0 IP)
- Game 3: YSU RHP Lance Horner (0-1, 3.07 ERA, 11 K, 5 BB, 14.2 IP) vs. Mike Schneider (4-1, 3.02 ERA, 40 K, 21 BB, 41.2 IP)