Three weeks before its season opener, the Youngstown State baseball team got a taste of spring as it held its first official full practice of 2018 today at Stambaugh Stadium.
The Penguins enjoyed sunshine and temperatures approaching 50 degrees as they worked out on the Beede Field turf for about three hours. The highlight of the day was a six-inning intrasquad scrimmage.
"It was a beautiful day, and we were able to take advantage of it by getting outside to scrimmage," YSU second-year head coach Dan Bertolini said. "We were really happy with the way the guys competed, and I think we are ahead of schedule for day one. This is a special group, and I can't wait to see where we are in three weeks."
After practice, the team had its annual photo day inside the Watson and Tressel Training Site on campus.
Video highlights and photos of practice, plus a sneak peek of photos taken for social media use during the season, are available on @YSUBaseball's Twitter account.
The Penguins have 13 freshmen and 10 transfers on the team to join 11 returning letterwinners on this season's squad. YSU brings back a good chunk of its offensive firepower with Horizon League Preseason Player of the Year Andrew Kendrick along with Trey Bridis and Kyle Benyo. Kendrick hit a school-record 17 home runs in 2017, and Bridis and Benyo both slugged eight. Web Charles also returns after tying for the team lead with 13 stolen bases and batting .276.
On the mound, Collin Floyd headlines the returning group after making 13 starts and striking out at least 50 batters for the second straight year in 2017. He's joined by fellow returners Alex Bellardini, Joel Hake and Zack Minney.
Youngstown State begins the 2018 season on Feb. 16 at Belmont.