The 2016 Youngstown State baseball season had several notable victories and individual highlights.
Doubleheader Sweep of Missouri
Youngstown State swept a doubleheader at Missouri on March 12, rallying for a 4-3 win in the ninth in game one and holding on for a 3-2 victory in game two. It was the first time the Penguins beat a team currently in the Southeastern Conference since they won at Missouri in 2004 when the Tigers were in the Big 12. The Penguins had not beaten a true SEC team since a win at Kentucky in 1988.
First Win Over Ranked Team in 17 Years
The Penguins had arguably an even more-impressive victory in their home finale on May 17 when they beat Kent State 11-10 as the Golden Flashes were ranked 28th in the country by Collegiate Baseball. It was YSU's first win over a ranked team since April 18, 1999, against No. 29 Oral Roberts.
Back-to-Back Walk-Off Wins
The Penguins finished their home slate with back-to-back walk-off wins. Gerrad Rohan hit an RBI double with one-out in the bottom of the ninth-inning on May 13 to give Youngstown State a 7-6 victory over Valparaiso. Four days later, Alex Larivee singled home Jonny Miller with one out in the 11th inning as YSU rallied for an 11-10 win over Kent State. Interestingly, both walk-off wins came on Kids Days. Approximately 2,200 area students attended the Valpo doubleheader, and 3,400 saw the Penguins beat Kent State.
Padovan Horizon League Batter of the Week
Junior infielder Nico Padovan was named the Horizon League Batter of the Week on March 14 following YSU's series win at Missouri. Padovan batted .556 while hitting safely and scoring a run in all three games of YSU's series against the Tigers. He finished the weekend 5-of-9 at the plate with four runs scored, three walks and a stolen base.
Akron Transfers Provide Lift
The top two batting averages in Youngstown State's lineup came from senior transfers from Akron. Rohan owned the top average at .274, and he also led the Penguins with 29 RBIs. Billy Salem ranked second on the team with a .262 average, and he was one of two Penguins who started 49 games.
Benyo Earns All-Freshman Honors
Outfielder Kyle Benyo became the third Penguin in the last three years to be named to the Horizon League All-Freshman Team. Benyo batted .283 against Horizon League opponents, and his .383 slugging percentage in conference play ranked second on the team.
Floyd Flashes Strikeout Potential
Left-hander Collin Floyd struck out 58 batters in 59.1 innings to lead the Penguins in both strikeouts and strikeouts per nine innings. Floyd's 58 strikeouts were the most by a Penguins freshman since Justin Thomas struck out 80 batters in 2003, and the 58 strikeouts were the most by a Penguins left-hander since Chris Dennis fanned 61 in 2006.
Floyd's high mark came in his second career start when he struck out 11 batters in five innings at Fresno State on Feb. 26. The 11 strikeouts were the most by any Penguins pitcher since Phil Klein struck out 13 batters at Toledo on March 20, 2011. The last YSU freshman to strike out at least 11 batters in a game was Thomas against Butler on April 27, 2003.
Yarabinec Leads in Wins and Saves
Junior closer Kevin Yarabinec became the sixth Penguin to lead the club in both wins and saves in the same season. He joins Glenn Head in 1981, John Nurczyk in 1992, Kyle Sobecki in 2000, Ryan Sellman in 2006 and Russ Harless in 2012. Yarabinec's eight saves in his career are tied for the sixth-most in program history.
Individual Record Updates
- Joel Hake's 28 appearances were the fifth-most in school history, and they tied the record for appearances by a freshman (Kevin McCulloh in 2010).
- Andrew Kendrick walked 34 times, which was the sixth-most in a single season.
- The 14 starts on the mound by Joe King and Jeremy Quinlan tied for the fourth-most for a season in school history.
- Shane Willoughby climbed into the top five in program history for career assists with 402. He's 130 behind record holder Josh Page (2004-08).