With opening day to the 2015 season quickly approaching, three members of the Youngstown State baseball team have earned preseason praise by the Horizon League and national media outlets.
In a poll of the Horizon League's six coaches, sophomore pitcher Kevin Yarabinec and senior designated hitter Jason Shirley were voted to the preseason all-league team. Sophomore outfielder Alex Larivee was a preseason first-team selection by CollegeSportsMadness.com, and Yarabinec was ranked as the sixth-best prospect in the league for the 2015 Major League Baseball draft by Baseball America.
Yarabinec is a draft-eligible sophomore right-hander who will be the Penguins' opening-day starter on Friday. Last season as YSU's closer, he went 2-2 with five saves and a 2.22 ERA. Shirley batted .271 with 19 runs scored and 14 RBIs is 2014, and Larivee hit .274 with 21 runs scored, 18 RBIs and seven steals.
The Penguins, who are coming off an impressive finish to the 2014 season that resulted in a Horizon League Tournament title and a win in the Bloomington Regional, were picked to finish fifth in the conference in the coaches' poll and D1Baseball.com. In both rankings, Wright State was picked to repeat as the regular-season champions, followed by UIC, Milwaukee, Valparaiso, YSU and Oakland.
Youngstown State's season begins Friday at Jacksonville State.