The Youngstown State baseball team will make its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament in a decade when it plays at No. 4 Indiana in the Bloomington Regional on Friday at 7 p.m. The game, as well as all of YSU's games in the regional round, will be broadcast on 1390 WNIO, iHeart Radio and ESPN3.
After a regular season littered with weather-related scheduling irregularities, newcomers struggling with development as a result and players filling in outside their positions due to injuries, YSU finally played up to its potential when it counted. The Penguins swept through the Horizon League Tournament as the No. 6 seed by beating top-seeded Wright State twice, No. 3 Valparaiso and No. 4 Milwaukee.
While the Penguins were not the league's best team during the regular season – they were 12-36 overall and 6-17 in league play heading into the tournament – YSU was clearly the team that played the best last week. Senior second baseman Phil Lipari, a Youngstown-area native, had 11 hits in the four games to bat .524 en route to being named tournament MVP. He led a potent Penguins offense that hit .340 collectively and averaged 7.5 runs during the week. YSU also committed just one error in the four games, and its four starting pitchers combined to post a 1.85 ERA in 24.1 innings.
Sophomore left-hander Jared Wight will start YSU's first game of the regional against Indiana, and he'll likely be followed by either freshman right-hander Jeremy Quinlan or senior righty Patrick O'Brien. A victory over the Hoosiers would put YSU against either Indiana State or Stanford on Saturday at 6 p.m., and a loss would have YSU in an elimination game Saturday at 2 p.m.
- The Penguins had the hottest bats of the Horizon League Tournament. They hit a combined .340 and averaged 7.5 runs per game, which were both tournament bests.
- YSU's four starting pitchers combined for an outstanding 1.85 ERA in the tournament. The Penguins also committed just one error in the four games.
- YSU had five members on the Horizon League All-Tournament Team, and second baseman Phil Lipari was named MVP. He was joined by pitcher Jeremy Quinlan, catcher Josh White, shortstop Shane Willoughby and third baseman Matt Sullivan.
- The Penguins have finished at least third in three of the past four conference tournaments.
- Head Coach Steve Gillispie is in his second year at YSU. He went to three NCAA Tournaments as an assistant at Jacksonville State.