Indianapolis, Ind. - The Youngstown State baseball team has been predicted to finish fourth in the Horizon League in 2019 after a vote of the league's head coaches, the league announced on Wednesday.
Youngstown State finished fifth in the league last season with a record of 18-38 (10-19), and has 19 letterwinners and nine starters returning. The Penguins also return two all-league second team performers and three all-freshman team selections.
Junior infielder Blaze Glenn was named Second-Team All-Horizon League last season, his first with YSU after transferring from Sinclair Community College. He finished the campaign ranked in the top 10 of the conference in nine different offensive categories. Glenn led the team with a .325 batting average, 64 hits, 43 RBIs, a .558 slugging percentage and a .445 on-base percentage. He tied for the team lead with 13 doubles while ranking second with 11 home runs, 34 runs scored, 110 total bases, 39 walks and 16 steals; he was a perfect 16-for-16 in stolen base attempts. The Toronto, Ohio, native reached base in 46 consecutive games from Feb. 24 through May 15, which was believed to be the longest streak in the country when it ended.
Sophomore infielder Jeff Wehler was named Second-Team All-Horizon League and to the league's All-Freshman Team in 2018 after starting 52 games in his first collegiate season. He led YSU and ranked second in the league with 25 stolen bases, the most ever by a YSU freshman. Wehler became the first Penguin since 1988 to record at least 25 steals in a season, and his 25 swipes also rank as the fourth most in a single season in program history. Only three freshmen in the country had more steals at the conclusion of the regular season. The St. Mary's, Pa., native hit .282 with nine doubles, 17 RBIs and 15 steals against Horizon League opponents.
The Penguins also return two more players who were selected to the league's All-Freshman Team last season in sophomore outfielder Lucas Nasonti and sophomore first baseman Nick LaBrasca. In 42 games played, Nasonti batted .264 with seven doubles, two home runs, 14 RBIs, 19 runs scored and nine stolen bases in 10 attempts while LaBrasca hit .277 and slugged .422 with six doubles, two home runs and 18 RBIs in 32 games.
Wright State was picked to win the 2019 championship after receiving all six first-place votes as the Raiders return five all-league performers and two All-Freshman Team selections from the 2018 team that won the regular-season title with a 22-6 conference mark. Headlining the group is outfielder Peyton Burdick, who has been named the league's Preseason Player of the Year by various publications.
Checking in at second place in the poll is last year's tournament runner-up UIC (28 points). The Flames return a pair All-League performers from last season in catcher Aaron Ackerman and starting pitcher Jacob Key.
Milwaukee was selected third, just two points behind UIC with 26 points, and returns All-Horizon League second-team selections, Tyler Bordner, Devin Rybacki and Trevor Schwecke, along with All-Freshman Team honorees Zach Nogalski and Patrick Tomfohrde.
Oakland (12 points) and Northern Kentucky (9 points) were chosen fifth and sixth, respectively, in the poll. The Golden Grizzlies return their top-hitter, Myles Zilinsky, and All-Freshman pick Mario Camilletti, while the Norse return Freshman of the Year Griffin Doersching and first-team all-league selection Will Haueter.
The 2019 Horizon League Baseball Championships will take place on May 22-25 at the home site of the highest seed.
2019 Horizon League Baseball Preseason Poll
Pl. Team - Points (First-Place Votes)
1. Wright State – 36 (6)
2. UIC – 28
3. Milwaukee – 26
4. Youngstown State – 15
5. Oakland – 12
6. Northern Kentucky – 9