Penguins Begin Four-Game Series at Miami on Friday

Cade Negley (Photo by Ken Lanese)
Cade Negley (Photo by Ken Lanese)

The Youngstown State baseball team will begin a four-game weekend series against Miami (Ohio) on Friday at McKie Field at Hayden Park in Oxford, Ohio. The Penguins (0-9) and RedHawks (7-3) are scheduled to play the opener at 3 p.m. Eastern on Friday, a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday and the finale at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

Live audio will be available for all four games at YSNLive.com while live stats will be available through links on YSUsports.com. Fans can also follow @YSUBaseball on Twitter for live updates. YSU and Miami were each scheduled to play a mid-week contest on Tuesday, but both were postponed due to weather conditions.

Penguins' Probable Starters:

Game 1 - Colin Clark
Game 2 - Travis Perry
Game 3 - Greg Dunham
Game 4 - TBA

*Starters subject to change

Previewing Miami

Scouting The RedHawks

Miami enters the week at 7-3, and on a four-game winning streak after a three-game sweep of Oakland last weekend. The RedHawks have six players batting at least .296 on the season. Freshman catcher Cole Andrews is hitting .419 and leading Miami with 13 hits, two home runs and a .613 slugging percentage while junior infielder Charlie Harrigan has a team-high 11 RBIs. The RedHawks also have three pitchers who have won at least two games. Freshman right-hander Sam Bachman is 2-0 with a 2.13 ERA while senior Jack Corbell is 1-0 with an ERA of 2.70. Miami went 35-20 and finished tied for second in the MAC in 2018. The RedHawks also finished as the runner-up at the 2018 MAC Tournament. Friday will be just the second meeting between the two schools on the diamond. Miami won an 8-7 decision in Oxford on March 29, 2002.

A Win Would…

  • Give YSU its first win of 2019 and 34th under Head Coach Dan Bertolini.
  • Snap a nine-game losing streak and improve YSU's record to 1-9.
  • Give YSU its first win over Miami (Ohio).

Notables

Strong Start for Wiersma

Senior first baseman Trevor Wiersma has had a strong start to his first season as a Penguin. The graduate transfer leads YSU with a .276 batting average, eight total hits, three home runs, 17 total bases, six walks and a .417 OBP. He is tied for the team lead with seven RBIs and ranks second with three runs scored and a .586 slugging percentage. Heading into the week, Wiersma leads the Horizon League in home runs while ranking third in slugging and tied for fifth in RBIs. 

In three games this past weekend at Tennessee Tech, he hit .400 with two singles, two home runs and four RBIs. He recorded 10 total bases, two walks and two runs scored with an OBP of .538 while slugging 1.000 for the weekend. He went 1-for-2 with a solo home run, a walk and a run scored in the series opener on Friday. He also went 3-for-4 with two singles, a two-run homer and three RBIs in the second game of a doubleheader on Saturday. Wiersma also had a strong opening weekend at No. 9/15 Mississippi State with three singles, a two-run home run and three RBIs in 11 at-bats.

Wiersma played in 145 games and made 140 starts over three seasons at Division II Concord University before coming to YSU. He was named the Mountain East Conference Freshman of the Year in 2016, and was a First-Team All-MEC selection as both a freshman and sophomore.

Power Surge

The Penguins have continued their home run-hitting ways so far in 2019.  Heading into the week, YSU leads the Horizon League with seven total homers and four players have hit at least one. Trevor Wiersma leads the league with three dingers while Blaze Glenn is tied for second with two. Jeff Wehler and Steven D'Eusanio each have one round-tripper to their credit as well. YSU hit 44 home runs as a team in 2018, which ranked second in the Horizon League and as the third-most in a single season in school history. It also marked the first time in school history the Guins hit at least 40 homers in back-to-back seasons; they hit 50 in 2017.

YSU hit a combined 94 homers over the previous two seasons after averaging just 14.2 homers per year over the previous six campaigns. Trey Bridis had 13 home runs last season; Blaze Glenn had 11; Andrew Kendrick hit nine. It marked just the second time in school history that three Penguins hit at least nine home runs in a season. Last season was also the first time in school history that two Penguins hit at least 11 homers in the same season.

Weather Woes

Youngstown State has had each of its first three weekend series of the season affected by the threat of inclement weather. In addition, the Penguins had a mid-week contest against Pitt, that was scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, postponed due to winter weather that came through the area on Sunday. YSU was slated to play single games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday in each of its first three series at Mississippi State, Florida State and Tennessee Tech. However, the threat of inclement weather on Sunday forced schedule changes to all three. The Penguins have played a Saturday doubleheader three straight weekends to begin the season. They are scheduled to play another this week as part of a four-game set at Miami (Ohio).

Smooth Criminals

At the start of the week, YSU was tied for second in the Horizon League with eight stolen bases as a team. Jeff Wehler is tied for league lead with three swipes while Blaze Glenn is tied for fifth with two. YSU had 86 stolen bases as a team last season, which ranked second in the Horizon League. That total is also tied for the second-most in a single season in school history. It marked the first season since 1998 in which the Penguins stole at least 80 bases. YSU had three players who ranked in the top-10 of the league in stolen bases. Wehler ranked second with 25; Glenn was sixth with 16; former Penguin Trey Bridis was eighth with 13. YSU stole at least three bases in 14 different games last season. The Penguins have swiped at least two bags in three different games this season, including a season-high three in the first game of Saturday's doubleheader at Tennessee Tech.

Youth Movement

YSU has 10 freshman and 10 sophomores on its roster this season, and 16 of those underclassmen have seen action through nine games. Sophomore pitchers Colin Clark and Chad Coles have each started three games, redshirt freshman Jon Snyder has started twice and freshman Travis Perry made his first career start at Tennessee Tech after making two appearances out of the bullpen. Sophomores Lucas Nasonti, Jeff Wehler, Nick LaBrasca and Zach Farrar have each appeared in the starting lineup at least twice while sophomore pitchers Dalton Earich and Cade Negley have made multiple appearances out of the bullpen. Freshmen Marco DeFalco and Brett Souder and sophomore Grant Kersh have made their first-career pitching appearances. Freshman Phillip Glasser has started five games at shortstop while Dylan Swarmer  has started three times behind the plate. Freshman infielder Steven D'Eusanio has played in six games, and hit his first career home run this past Saturday.

Recapping Tennessee Tech

Game 1 (Friday, March 1) / L 7-2:

  • Trevor Wiersma hit his second home run of the season, but a four-run fifth inning helped lift Tennessee Tech to a 7-2 win over YSU in the series opener at Bush Stadium.
  • After the Golden Eagles drew first blood in the third inning, the Penguins quickly responded with two runs in the fourth to move in front 2-1. However, TTU answered with one run in the home half of the fourth and four in the fifth to grab the lead for good in the opener of a three-game series.
  • YSU managed just three hits in the contest, and was held without a hit over its final five at-bats. After coming out of the bullpen with the game tied, TTU's Nic Dye did not allow a hit and struck out eight batters in five scoreless innings of work.
  • Wiersma went 1-for-2 with a walk and a solo home run while Drew Dickerson and Lucas Nasonti each collected a single for the Penguins.
  • YSU pitchers were plagued by walks, issuing eight free passes and walking in a pair of runs with the bases loaded. Three walks in the bottom of the fifth contributed to TTU's deciding four-run inning.
  • Colin Clark (0-1) suffered his first loss of the season after allowing five runs on six hits and matching his career-high with five strikeouts over 4.2 innings.

Game 2 (Saturday, March 2) / L 9-2:

  • YSU took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning, but TTU scored five runs in the second to take control on their way to a 9-2 win in game one of a doubleheader.
  • Dylan Swarmer went 2-for-3 with a single and a double while Blaze Glenn and Phillip Glasser each drove in a run. YSU recorded a season-high three stolen bases.
  • Nasonti doubled and scored a run while Zach Farrar and Zach Lopatka each had a base hit. Glenn, Farrar and Jeff Wehler each recorded a stolen base as well.
  • Wehler drew a two-out walk and stole second before scoring on an RBI double from Glenn to give the Penguins an early 1-0 edge in the top of the first.
  • The Penguins' final run came in the top of the seventh as Nasonti hit a two-out double and scored on Glasser's single.
  • Travis Perry allowed eight runs, five of which were earned, on 10 hits over 4.2 innings in his first career start on the mound for YSU.

Game 3 (Saturday, March 2) / L 8-4:

  • The Penguins similarly took a 1-0 lead in game two, but Tennessee Tech scored the next eight runs and went on to win 8-4 and complete the series sweep.
  • Wiersma finished 3-for-4 with three RBIs and a home run, and Steven D'Eusanio hit his first career home run during a three-run sixth to lead the Penguins. Wiersma hit an RBI single that plated Wehler in the top of the first inning to put YSU in front.
  • Tennessee Tech scored eight straight runs in the second through fourth innings, the first six of those runs coming with two outs, to go up 8-1.
  • Cade Negley entered in the fourth and kept the Penguins in the game with a season-high 3.2 innings of scoreless relief. He scattered five hits and struck out a season-high three batters.
  • YSU cut into the lead with a three-run sixth as Glenn led off with an infield single, and Wiersma followed with a two-run blast to center for his second homer in as many days. D'Eusanio then hit an 0-2 pitch over the fence in left center for his first career round tripper, and the back-to-back home runs allowed YSU to get within 8-4.
  • The Penguins got runners on base in each of the final three innings but couldn't push them across. YSU matched its season-high with seven hits in each game on Saturday.
  • Starting pitcher Chad Coles was charged with the loss as he allowed the four runs on six hits in the second inning. After Negley's 3.2 innings, Lopatka came on to pitch a scoreless eighth. YSU pitchers matched a season high with eight total strikeouts.

Up Next

The Penguins will continue their non-conference road slate with five games next week. YSU is scheduled to play at Kent State on Tuesday at 4 p.m., and at Pittsburgh on Wednesday at 3 p.m. before opening Horizon League play with a three-game series at Northern Kentucky beginning on Friday at 3 p.m.