Baseball Heads Back on the Road for Series at No. 13 Louisville

Blaze Glenn
Blaze Glenn

The Youngstown State baseball team (1-2) will head to Louisville, Ky. this weekend for a three-game series against No. 13 Louisville (4-0) at Jim Patterson Stadium. The Penguins and Cardinals will play at 2 p.m. Eastern on Friday in the opener, and at 1 p.m. ET on Saturday and Sunday. 

Live stats and audio will be available throughout the series on GoCards.com. All three contests will be broadcast live on the ACC Network Extra.

Scouting Louisville

The Cardinals were ranked 13th in the preseason USA Today Coaches Poll after going 53-12, winning a third straight ACC Atlantic Division title and reaching the College World Series last season. They are off to a 4-0 start this season with wins over Richmond, The Citadel, George Mason and Eastern Kentucky. The Cards return 17 letterwinners, including junior All-American reliever Sam Bordner and junior outfielder Josh Stowers. Junior infielder Devin Mann currently leads his team with seven hits, nine RBIs and a .538 average in just 13 at-bats. Juniors Adam Wolf and Riley Thompson lead a talented pitching staff. Friday's contest will be the first meeting between the two schools on the diamond.

Recapping Last Week

YSU won its first season opener since 2010 with an 8-4 victory over Belmont this past Friday. However, Belmont would hold YSU to just three runs over the next two games as the Bruins won 5-1 on Saturday and 5-2 on Sunday to drop the Penguins to 1-2 overall. Collin Floyd took the loss on Saturday after giving up two runs on five hits over four innings. Junior transfer Kip DeShields allowed five hits and three earned runs over 5.1 innings of work in a losing effort on Sunday.

Newcomers Make Immediate Impact

The Penguins had a number of their 23 newcomers step up in a big way during the first series of the season. Sophomore right-hander Greg Dunham held Belmont to just one run on four hits over six innings on Friday to earn the win in his debut. Junior catcher Nick Caruso went 5-for-8 with a pair of two-run doubles and four RBIs in two games over the weekend. Junior infielder Drew Dickerson went 4-for-10 with three walks and three runs scored while making a number of impressive defensive plays. Junior outfielder/pitcher Zach Lopatka recorded three hits including a double and two RBIs in addition to throwing 1.2 scoreless innings out of the bullpen on Sunday. Sophomore infielder/outfielder Blaze Glenn hit a two-out, two-run homer in the ninth on Friday to provide a pair of insurance runs in the win. Junior infielder Cody Dennis added a pair of base hits and an RBI.

Dunham Shines in YSU Debut

Sophomore right-hander Greg Dunham pitched six solid innings on Friday to help Youngstown State win its first season opener since 2010. Dunham, a South Range High School graduate who transferred home from Buffalo, held the Bruins to one run on four hits over six innings to earn the win in his Penguins debut. Dunham is slated to start this Friday in game one of YSU's three-game series against #13 Louisville.

Caruso Carries Penguins Offense

Junior catcher Nick Caruso went 5-for-8 with two doubles and four RBIs in two games played against Belmont last week. Caruso, a transfer from Macomb Community College, hit .625, slugged .875 and registered seven total bases over the weekend in his first action as a Penguin. Caruso went 3-for-4 with a walk, a run scored, two singles and a two-run double on Friday. He then went 2-for-4 with a single and a two-run double on Sunday.

Hot Start for Hake

Junior right-hander Joel Hake started the 2018 season in strong fashion during the team's series in Nashville. Hake, one of four returning pitchers from last year's squad, threw 2.1 scoreless innings with four strikeouts in two appearances out of the bullpen. The side-winder came on in the eighth inning during Friday's game and retired the Bruins in order in the ninth to record the save. He also fanned the only batter he faced on Sunday.

Beating Ranked Opponents

A win at Louisville would give Youngstown State its fourth win over a ranked foe in the past three seasons. YSU earned a pair of road wins over ranked opponents during the 2017 campaign. The Penguins earned a 12-3 victory at No. 17 Georgia Tech on Feb. 26, 2017 in what was Bertolini's first victory at YSU. The group then won 11-6 at No. 29 Kent State on April 4, 2017. The Penguins also beat Kent State when it was No. 28 in 2016, giving the program three wins over ranked teams in the past two seasons. Prior to 2016, YSU had not topped a ranked opponent in 17 years.

Up Next

The Penguins will continue their non-conference schedule next week March 2-4 with three games in the Kissimmee Irish Classic hosted by Notre Dame. The event will be played at Osceola County Stadium in Kissimmee, Fla. YSU will play Notre Dame at 5 p.m. Eastern on Friday, Seattle University at Noon on Saturday and Seton Hall at 10:45 a.m. on Sunday.

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