Baseball Set for Five More Home Games This Week

Nick LaBrasca
Nick LaBrasca

The Youngstown State baseball team will complete the bulk of its home schedule this week as it is set to play five more home games at Eastwood Field.

The Penguins are slated to host a day-night doubleheader on Tuesday against Niagara and Bowling Green, and they'll welcome Horizon League-leading Wright State over the weekend. First pitch against the Purple Eagles in the first game on Tuesday is set for 1 p.m., and the nightcap against the Falcons is scheduled for 6 p.m. The Penguins will then play their final conference home series against the Raiders with first pitch times at 6 p.m. on Friday, 3 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday.

Promotional Schedule (subject to change)

  • Tuesday - Faculty & Staff Appreciation / YSU Alumni Gathering: YSU employees will receive free admission to Tuesday's doubleheader by presenting their university ID at the gate. The YSU Office of Alumni Engagement is also holding a special event for the evening contest against Bowling Green. For more information, alumni should go to facebook.com/ysualumni or call (330) 941-2753.
  • Friday – YSU Baseball T-shirt Giveaway: The first 200 fans will receive a YSU baseball t-shirt, courtesy of U.S. Army, Pepsi, Jimmy John's and Eagle Wear.
  • Saturday – Pediatric Cancer Awareness Game / Rise Pies Free Pizza Giveaway: Money from the admissions gate will be donated to pediatric cancer awareness and research. The YSU baseball team will wear yellow laces as part of Go4TheGoal, Lace up 4 Pediatric Cancer. Plus, Jacob Sypert, YSU's Team IMPACT player, will throw out the first pitch. For the Rise Pies Pizza giveaway, fans in attendance will receive a coupon for a free cheese pizza at Ries Pies if the Penguins score at least five runs.
  • Sunday – Senior Day / YSU Football Appreciation Day / Pete The Penguin Photo Day: YSU seniors Alex Bellardini, Trey Bridis, Andrew Kendrick and Anthony Santoro will be recognized prior to the game in what will be their final home Horizon League contest. Fans will have the opportunity to interact with members of the YSU football team as well as get their photo taken with Youngstown State mascot Pete the Penguin.

Home-Heavy Stretch Ending: Because of some weather-related shuffling in the schedule, the Penguins have just six more home games remaining. YSU was originally supposed to have a home series against Oakland the first weekend of May, but the Penguins and Golden Grizzlies had to flip their home-and-home set at the start of April due to bad weather in Michigan. After Sunday's contest against Wright State, the only game scheduled to be played at Eastwood Field is on May 15 against Kent State. Since March 17, YSU has played 14 of the last 22 games at home.

Weather Woes: Like many teams in the country, Youngstown State's schedule has been greatly affected by weather. In fact, the Penguins haven't a weekend go as originally scheduled since they played in Kissimmee, Fla., the first weekend of March. YSU has had three-day weekend series consolidated to two days with a doubleheader for seven straight weekends. Youngstown State has also had both of its scheduled non-conference games either canceled or moved to the opponent's field.

Recapping Last Week: Youngstown State went winless in four games last week to extend its losing skid to seven games. After a rainout of Tuesday's scheduled game against St. Bonaventure, the Penguins took an early lead at Ohio State on Wednesday before falling 12-3. YSU then couldn't solve Milwaukee's pitching staff over the weekend as the Penguins lost 5-0 and 6-1 in a Saturday doubleheader and 5-2 on Sunday. Blaze Glenn led the team offensively with a .375 average, and he, Austin Trace and Trey Bridis each had a pair of doubles. Glenn reached base successfully in all four games to extend his streak of reaching base to 32 straight contests. The sophomore also has a 10-game hitting streak.

Previewing the Opponents

Niagara – Niagara is making its first trip to Eastwood Field since 2003, and the Penguins and Purple Eagles are playing in the Youngstown area for the first time since 2008. YSU beat Niagara 13-3 at Cene Park on April 15, 2008, and the Penguins prevailed 10-3 at Niagara in 2010. The Purple Eagles won the last contest 8-5 when the teams played at Pittsburgh on March 19, 2011. Niagara is 12-20 this season and has dropped six of its last seven contests. Junior infielder Greg Cullen leads the country with a .462 batting average, and also has an impressive .526 on-base percentage and a .658 slugging percentage. Peter Battaglia leads the squad with five home runs.

Bowling Green – YSU will be looking to sweep the season series against Bowling Green as it beat the Falcons 9-6 on the road on April 10.  The Penguins have beaten the Falcons nine straight times dating back to a 7-5 victory in 2007. Recently at home, YSU topped Bowling Green 5-1 in 2015, 2-0 in 2016 and 6-5 in 2017. Last season's win came on a walk-off home run by Kyle Benyo in the bottom of the ninth. The Falcons are 10-25 overall and 5-8 in the Mid-American Conference, and they took one out of three games against Ball State over the weekend. Ty Sunkten leads Bowling Green with a .379 batting average over 58 at bats, and Randy Righter is hitting .309 with 12 doubles.

Wright State – YSU will try to get revenge on Wright State this weekend after being swept by the Raiders on the road on April 13-14. The Penguins entered that series a half game behind the Raiders for first place in the Horizon League. Wright State now has four more conference wins than any other team, and its 25-13 overall mark is also the best in the conference. The Raiders lead the Horizon League in essentially every offensive category except home runs, and it they also have the conference's best fielding percentage and the second-best ERA. Zane Harris is batting .400 over 75 at bats, and Gabe Snyder leads the conference with 12 home runs and 49 RBIs.

Next Week: Youngstown State will be off during the midweek for final exams, and it will play a three-game series at Oakland on May 4-6.

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