Baseball Continues Early-Season Road Stretch at Tennessee Tech

Cody Dennis (Photo by Ken Lanese)
Cody Dennis (Photo by Ken Lanese)

The Youngstown State baseball team (0-6) will continue its early-season road stretch with a three-game series against Tennessee Tech (3-4) beginning on Friday at Bush Stadium at the Averitt Express Baseball Complex in Cookeville, Tenn. The Penguins and Golden Eagles will play at 7 p.m. Eastern on Friday, 3 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Colin Clark will start for the Penguins on Friday, Travis Perry will make his first-career start on Saturday and Chad Coles is slated to take the ball on Sunday.

Live stats will be available throughout the weekend through links on YSUsports.com, and fans can also follow @YSUBaseball on Twitter for live updates.

Scouting Tennessee Tech

After starting the season 3-0, the Golden Eagles have dropped four straight games following an 11-4 loss at Middle Tennessee on Tuesday. Junior outfielder Anthony Carrera leads TTU with a .451 batting average, 13 hits and two home runs. Carrera went 4-for-4 and hit for the cycle in a loss at South Alabama on Sunday. Junior right-hander Mark Leonard has appeared in three games out of the bullpen, posting a perfect ERA and striking out 11 in 10.1 innings. The Golden Eagles are coming off an impressive 2018 season in which they went 53-12 to claim the regular season OVC championship and reach the NCAA Super Regionals. Tennessee Tech holds a 5-1 edge in the all-time series between the two schools. The programs last met in March of 2011, when the Golden Eagles swept a three-game series in Cookeville. YSU's only win in the series came in the first meeting on March 14, 2003, by a final of 4-2.

A Win Would…

  • Give YSU its first win of 2019 and 34th under Head Coach Dan Bertolini.
  • Snap a six-game losing streak and improve YSU's record to 1-6.
  • Give YSU its second win over Tennessee Tech.
  • Snap a five-game losing streak to the Golden Eagles.

Recapping Florida State

Game 1 (Friday, Feb. 22) / L 4-2:

  • YSU carried a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the sixth inning against No. 6/11 Florida State behind another impressive pitching performance from Colin Clark, but ultimately fell 4-2 at Dick Howser Stadium on Friday evening.
  • Blaze Glenn hit a two-run home run in the top of the first inning to put the Penguins in front, but the Seminoles hit a pair of their own two-run blasts in the sixth and seventh to win game one of a three-game series.
  • Clark allowed one run on just five hits while striking out four over 5.1 innings in his second straight no-decision. He faced the minimum in the first and fourth innings while recording a strikeout in four different frames.
  • Glenn and Cody Dennis each recorded two hits in the contest while Jeff Wehler walked twice and scored a run.
  • Glenn's home run was the first hit of the season given up by FSU starter Drew Parrish, who had tossed five innings in a combined no-hitter against Maine on opening day. The homer apparently also had enough power to cause operational damage to the scoreboard as it was shut down later in the game.
  • Travis Perry took the loss after giving up two runs on two hits in 2.2 innings of relief.

Game 2 (Saturday, Feb. 23) / L 24-2:

  • YSU took an early lead in game one of a doubleheader, but the Seminoles used a seven-run first inning to take control on their way to a 24-2 win in seven innings.
  • The two teams were originally slated to play game two of the series on Saturday and the finale on Sunday. However, the threat of inclement weather on Sunday forced the schedule change to a doubleheader on Saturday.
  • Blaze Glenn drove in both YSU runs with a sacrifice fly in the top of the first and an RBI single in fourth. The Penguins were held to four hits as Jeff Wehler doubled and Phillip Glasser and Steven D'Eusanio each singled.
  • Florida State recorded 18 hits including 11 of the extra-base variety and six home runs.
  • YSU starter Jon Snyder suffered his second loss of the season.

Game 3 (Saturday, Feb. 23) / L 7-4:

  • YSU held another early edge after a three-run first inning, and took a 4-2 lead into the bottom of the fifth inning. However, the Penguins' bats went cold and the Seminoles scored five runs over their final four at bats to complete the series sweep with a 7-4 victory.
  • Jeff Wehler hit his first home run of the season while Blaze Glenn doubled, walked twice and scored two runs. Drew Dickerson singled and drove in a run while Trevor Wiersma drew three base on balls.
  • YSU starter Chad Coles provided a very solid effort, allowing three runs and scattering four hits over four innings in a no-decision.
  • Florida State had just seven hits after collecting 18 in game one of the doubleheader, but YSU pitchers issued a total of 12 free passes in the nightcap.
  • After scoring three runs on three hits in the top of the first, YSU did not record a hit for the remainder of the contest. The Penguins drew seven walks but struck out 12 times and were retired in order in five different innings.
  • Cody Dennis drew a leadoff walk to begin the game and Wehler followed with a two-run home run to left field. Glenn doubled and later scored on a throwing error to push the lead to 3-0. A sacrifice fly from Dickerson in the fifth inning accounted for YSU's fourth run.
  • Greg Dunham surrendered three runs on two hits over 2.1 innings of relief in his first loss of the season.

Glenn Named Batter of the Week

Junior infielder Blaze Glenn was named the Nike Horizon League Batter of the Week for the period of Feb. 18-24, the conference office announced on Monday. Glenn, a Second-Team All-Horizon League selection last season, earned the award for the first time in his career. He batted .500 with two singles, a double, a two-run home run and four RBIs in eight at-bats over three games this past weekend at No. 6/11 Florida State. He also recorded eight total bases, two walks, three runs scored and an OBP of .545 while slugging 1.000 for the weekend. Glenn currently leads the Horizon League with a .667 slugging percentage, and is tied for the league lead with two home runs. He is also tied for the second with six runs batted in. The Toronto, Ohio, native finished last season ranked in the top-10 of the league in nine different offensive statistical categories.

Battling Top-10 Opponents

In six road games against two top-10 nationally ranked opponents to begin the season, YSU held leads in five of them. In the season opener at No. 9/15 Mississippi State, the Penguins led 3-0 going into the bottom of the sixth inning, and the game was tied 3-3 heading into the bottom of the eighth. In game two against the Bulldogs, Blaze Glenn tattooed a pitch from the 2018 first-round MLB Draft pick JT Ginn for a two-run home run in the first inning to give YSU an early edge. The Penguins also held leads in all three games this past weekend at No. 6/11 Florida State. YSU carried a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the sixth inning in the series opener before falling 4-2. The Guins led 1-0 in game two, and held a 4-2 advantage going into the bottom of the fifth in the series finale before ultimately dropping a 7-4 decision.

Clark Impresses in First Two Starts of 2019

After earning Friday-starter duties with a strong off-season, sophomore left-hander Colin Clark has put forth two very impressive performances against a pair of top-10 opponents. He allowed three earned runs and scattered four hits over 5.1 innings in a no-decision in the season opener at No. 9/15 Mississippi State on Feb. 15. In only his sixth-career start, the sophomore left-hander held the Bulldogs scoreless and surrendered just one hit over the first five frames. He retired 11 consecutive batters at one point while facing the minimum in the second, third and fourth innings. The game was tied 3-3 when Clark handed the ball to the bullpen. In the series opener at No. 6/11 Florida State this past Friday, he allowed one run on just five hits while striking out four over 5.1 innings in another no-decision. He faced the minimum in the first and fourth innings while recording a strikeout in four different frames. The Penguins led 2-0 when Clark departed in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Challenging Non-Conference Competition

In three seasons under Head Coach Dan Bertolini, the Penguins have not been afraid to challenge themselves by playing some of the best competition in the country. In Bertolini's first season in 2017, YSU earned wins over No. 17 Georgia Tech and No. 29 Kent State. Last season, the Penguins played a three-game series at No. 13 Louisville in late February before going 5-2 against opponents from the Mid-American Conference. This season, YSU has played two top-10 opponents in the first two weekends in No. 9/15 Mississippi State and No. 6/11 Florida State, and will play total of 14 games against six different opponents from Power Five conferences. The Penguins will play mid-week contests at Penn State, Pittsburgh and West Virginia while hosting Ohio State and Pittsburgh at Eastwood Field. This week's opponent, Tennessee Tech, went 53-12, won the regular season OVC championship  and reached the NCAA Super Regionals in 2018. In addition, the Penguins will play 10 games versus six different opponents from the Mid-American Conference this season.

Flashing The Leather

The Penguins have made a number of impressive defensive plays over the first six games of the 2019 season. During the opening weekend at Mississippi State, Lucas Nasonti and Web Charles each made spectacular, diving catches in the outfield while Trevor Wiersma also made an impressive, diving play at first base. This past weekend at Florida State, Cody Dennis made two web gems at shortstop to turn a pair of double plays at crucial moments. The first was a sliding stop moving toward second base that allowed a toss to Drew Dickerson for the 6-4-3. The second was also a sliding stop as Dennis secured the ball and tapped second on the run before throwing to first for the 6-3 turn. Blaze Glenn has also made some highlight plays at third base, including a bare-hand scoop and throw to first base on Friday against the Seminoles.

Up Next

Following their three-game set in Tennessee, the Penguins will play a mid-week contest at Pittsburgh on Tuesday, March 5, before traveling to Oxford, Ohio, for a four-game weekend series against Miami (Ohio).