Three weeks before its season opener, the Youngstown State baseball team held its first official full practice of 2019 today at the Watson and Tressel Training Site (WATTS).
The Penguins began the day with a pre-practice classroom session in Beeghly Center before moving to the WATTS for on-field work. The highlight of the day was a six-inning intrasquad scrimmage.
"It was a great atmosphere today for day one of team practice," YSU third-year head coach Dan Bertolini said. "I think we did some really good things for the first intrasquad, and I'm excited to see how we grow over the next few weeks before we open up on Feb. 15."
Video highlights and photos of practice are available on @YSUBaseball's Twitter account.
This season's team features 19 returning letterwinners and 13 newcomers. A number of key players return from last year's team that won 18 games overall and 10 in league play, the program's most since 2010 and 2009 respectively. YSU's roster includes nine seniors, six juniors, 10 sophomores and 10 freshmen.
Collegiate Baseball Newspaper has noted junior infielder/outfielder Blaze Glenn, senior pitcher Joel Hake, sophomore infielder Jeff Wehler and senior first baseman Trevor Wiersma as Top Players to Watch in the Horizon League for 2019. Glenn and Wehler were each named Second-Team All-Horizon League last season. Along with Wehler, sophomore outfielder Lucas Nasonti and sophomore first baseman Nick LaBrasca return after being named to the league's All-Freshman Team in 2018.
YSU enters the 2019 campaign with nine pitchers who made at least 10 appearances last season. The staff also has six returning pitchers who made at least four starts in 2018. Hake made a team-high 26 appearances out of the bullpen and posted a team-best 4.36 ERA. He tied for third in the Horizon League with a career-high four saves.
Youngstown State begins the 2019 season on Feb. 15 at No. 9/14 Mississippi State.