Penguins Host Milwaukee for Weekend Series to Open Horizon League Play

Alex Bellardini (Photo by David Dermer)
Alex Bellardini (Photo by David Dermer)

The Youngstown State baseball team will host Milwaukee for a three-game series this weekend to open Horizon League play. The Penguins and Panthers will play a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 1 p.m. ET and a single game on Sunday with the same start time.

Live stats will be available throughout the series through a link on YSUsports.com.

The Penguins will be at home for the first time this season after playing their first 14 games out-of-state. Milwaukee has also not played a home game yet this season. Greg Dunham and Collin Floyd are slated to start on the mound for the Penguins on Saturday while Zach Lopatka is the probable starter for Sunday's contest.

Promotions

Both days will include team poster giveaways and there will be St. Patrick's Day Penguin Prize Drawings on Saturday.

Quick Notes Around the Diamond

  • The Penguins had a season-high 11 hits in the second game of their doubleheader at Radford on Saturday 
  • Andrew Kendrick has four hits including a double and a home run over his past five games
  • Kendrick hit his first home run of the season in the ninth inning at Radford on Friday to help YSU force extra innings
  • Nick Massey has hit safely in his last four outings and is batting .364 with four hits over his last three games
  • Lucas Nasonti is 3-for-6 over his last three games and has reached base in each game
  • Austin Trace is 2-for-4 with a double in his last two contests
  • Left-hander Collin Floyd is tied for sixth in the Horizon League with 21 strikeouts on the season
  • Jakob Brustoski pitched a scoreless inning of relief in both games at Liberty last week. The freshman retired the side in order in each outing and struck out all three batters he faced last Tuesday
  • Youngstown State won its first season opener since 2010 with a 8-4 victory at Belmont on Feb. 16
  • Six different Penguins making their first starts in the batting order had hits in the opener
  • This year's roster features 11 returning letterwinners, 12 returners overall and 23 newcomers

A YSU Win Would…

  • Give the Penguins their second win of the season
  • Give the Penguins their second straight win over Milwaukee
  • Snap a 13-game losing streak

Scouting Milwaukee

The Panthers are 4-11 on the season and are coming off a 9-6 loss at No. 24 Illinois on Wednesday. Sophomore infielder Mike Ferri is batting .311 with a team-best 19 hits while junior first baseman Oakland Scanlan is hitting .320 and is tied for the team lead with eight RBIs. The Panthers have seven players batting at least .279 on the season. Probable starting pitcher Austin Schulfer is third in the Horizon League with 26 strikeouts and fourth with 23.2 innings pitched. The Penguins went 2-3 against the Panthers last season, winning the final matchup 5-1 at Eastwood Field.

Recapping Last Week

YSU dropped two games at Liberty last week, losing 16-0 to the Flames on Tuesday and 12-2 on Wednesday. The Penguins then suffered three heartbreaking losses at Radford, falling 4-3 in 10 innings on Friday before going down 6-4 and 4-3 in a doubleheader on Saturday. YSU held leads in each game against the Highlanders but were unable to come away with a victory. Radford won in walk-off fashion on Friday and in the second game on Saturday. The Penguins have now lost 13 straight contests since winning their season opener at Belmont on Feb. 16. YSU played less than two innings at Pittsburgh on Tuesday before the game was canceled due to snow. The Penguins and Panthers are scheduled to make up the game on April 4 at Charles L. Cost Field.

Newcomers Making Major Impact

A number of YSU's 23 newcomers have played major roles through the first 14 games of the season. Blaze Glenn leads the team with a .286 batting average, 14 hits, two home runs, six RBIs, 22 total bases and a .449 slugging percentage. Drew Dickerson is second on the team with 10 hits while Zach Lopatka is third with nine. Nick Caruso is tied for the team lead with three doubles and is second on the squad with five RBIs. Jeff Wehler leads the team and is tied for second in the Horizon League with five stolen bases. Colin ClarkChad ColesCody DennisKip DeShieldsGreg DunhamNick MasseyLucas Nasonti, and Austin Trace among others have also seen significant action in their first season with the program.

Blazin' Hot

Sophomore outfielder Blaze Glenn has been on fire at the plate over the last few weeks. The transfer from Sinclair Community College has hit safely in seven of his last 10 games and is batting .324 with 11 hits and a .471 slugging percentage over that stretch. During that 10-game span, Glenn has reached base in every contest with an OBP of .452. The sophomore hit a solo home run to the opposite field to give his team the lead in the top of the 10th inning at Radford on Friday. Glenn has started all 14 games in right field and leads YSU with a .286 batting average, 14 hits, two home runs, six RBIs, 22 total bases and a .449 slugging percentage. He is the only Penguin who has started in each of the team's 14 games to this point.

Bridis Bolsters Lineup

Senior outfielder Trey Bridis has been a key figure in the YSU lineup over the past few seasons. Collegiate Baseball noted Bridis as a Top Player To Watch in the Horizon League in its 2018 preview edition. After a slow start, the senior has been heating up over the past few weeks. Bridis is batting .333 with six hits and a .556 slugging percentage over his last five games. He has also doubled, scored two runs, stole two bases and walked five times over that stretch. Bridis led off the first game of YSU's doubleheader on Saturday with his first home run of the season. He has hit safely in five straight games and reached base in 13 consecutive contests, both of which are team highs. Bridis has also walked a Horizon League-best 15 times in 13 games played.

Web Gem

Senior infielder Web Charles is another key returner who has been finding his groove as of late. Charles was one of two YSU players to play in all 55 games last season. He recorded the third-best batting average on the team at .276 in 2017. He also tied for the team lead with 13 stolen bases in 15 attempts. His eight steals in conference play were good for fifth in the Horizon League last season. Charles is batting .313 and slugging .500 over his past five games. The junior recorded five total hits including three doubles while registering eight total bases and an RBI last week. He posted a .389 OBP for the week and also stole a base. Charles went 2-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI on Wednesday at Liberty.

Lopatka Playing Two Ways

Junior Zach Lopatka has showcased his skills as a position player and as a pitcher this season. The transfer from Lackawanna College has started six games in left field, six as the designated hitter and two on the mound. Lopatka is third on the team with nine hits and has reached base in eight straight games. The left-hander made his second start on the bump at Radford on Saturday and was tremendous. Lopatka pitched all 6.2 innings in the predetermined seven-inning contest. Through six innings, he had allowed just one run on four hits. The junior struck out five and did not walk a batter in the game. Lopatka is the scheduled starting pitcher for Sunday's series finale against Milwaukee.

Consistency from Dickerson

Junior infielder Drew Dickerson has been consistent at the dish and at second base in his first season as a Penguin. The transfer from Macomb Community College is second on the squad with 10 hits while leading YSU with 31 assists and a perfect fielding percentage on defense. Dickerson has started at second base in 13 of YSU's 14 games has reached base in eight consecutive contests. 

Career Firsts for Wehler

Freshman infielder Jeff Wehler registered two singles, a solo home run, an RBI and two runs scored in three games at No. 13 Louisville in late February. He went 2-for-4 with a single and his first-career home run in the series finale on Feb. 25. He scored YSU's only two runs of the day and also stole the first two bases of his career. The freshman has started 12 of the team's 14 games and shown great versatility, starting six games at first base, four at shortstop and two as the designated hitter. Wehler leads the team and is tied for second in the Horizon League with five stolen bases.

Dunham Deals at Radford

Sophomore right-hander Greg Dunham pitched nine innings against Radford on Friday and was brilliant. He allowed just two runs on eight hits and struck out six batters. Radford did all of its damage against Dunham in the first three innings before he blanked the Highlanders over his final six innings. Radford had six hits in the first and third innings but they managed just two more off Dunham after that. He retired Radford in order in the second, fourth, sixth and eighth innings. Dunham pitched six solid innings at Belmont on Feb. 16 to earn the win in his Penguins debut and help YSU to its first win in a season opener since 2010. He is slated to start game one of the Penguins' series against Milwaukee.

Up Next

After their three-game series against Milwaukee, the Penguins will play back-to-back non-conference road games in the state of Ohio. Youngstown State will play at Kent State on Tuesday before traveling to face Toledo on Wednesday. Tuesday's game at Schoonover Stadium will begin at 4 p.m. ET while first pitch for Wednesday's contest at Scott Park Baseball Complex is scheduled for 3:05 p.m.

Baseball 2018 Season Preview
February 6, 2018 Baseball 2018 Season Preview