Baseball Looks to Carry Momentum Into Weekend Series at Wright State

Kip DeShields (Photo by Rob Hayes)
Kip DeShields (Photo by Rob Hayes)

The Youngstown State baseball team will look to carry the positive momentum from Wednesday's walk-off win over Pitt into this weekend's three-game Horizon League series at Wright State that begins on Friday.

The Penguins and Raiders are scheduled to play at 12:30 p.m. ET on Friday in the opener, at 2 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday. The contests on Friday and Saturday will be broadcast live on ESPN+, and live stats will be available throughout the weekend through links on YSUsports.com. Fans can allow follow @YSUBaseball on Twitter for live updates.

Friday's series opener was originally scheduled to begin at 3 p.m., but the threat of inclement weather later in the afternoon caused first pitch to be moved up to 12:30 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers:

Previewing Wright State

Scouting The Raiders

  • Wright State will begin the weekend at 16-7 overall and 4-2 in Horizon League play after splitting a pair of midweek, non-conference contests with Xavier on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Raiders lost a 9-8 decision in 10 innings at home on Tuesday before bouncing back with a 10-0 road win on Wednesday. 
  • The Raiders are tied atop the Horizon League standings with Milwaukee and UIC after winning two of three against both teams in their first two league series of the season. 
  • Wright State is the defending Horizon League regular season and tournament champion, and has won the conference tournament in three of the last four years.
  • The Raiders received all six first-place votes in the league's preseason poll. WSU returned 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. 
  • Junior outfielder Peyton Burdick was picked unanimously as the league's Preseason Player of the Year by various publications. He leads the league with a .390 batting average, 32 hits, 25 RBIs, 56 total bases, 23 walks, a .683 slugging percentage and a .533 OBP. 
  • Burdick and Raiders' senior outfielder Zach Weatherford are each tied for the league lead with for home runs while senior outfielder JD Orr paces the league with 22 stolen bases and 30 runs scored. Senior left-hander Zane Collins is 5-1 with a 2.91 ERA and 26 strikeouts over 34 innings.
  • The Raiders lead the Horizon League in runs scored, hits, home runs, slugging, OBP, stolen bases and fielding percentage. They are also tied for the league lead in walks with YSU.

Series History

  • Overall: Wright State leads 75-34
  • Bertolini: 1-11 // Home: 13-36 // Away: 18-38
  • Current Win Streak: 9 by Wright State
  • Wright State took all seven matchups between the teams in 2018. The Raiders swept both regular season series and won 11-1 in the Horizon League Tournament.
  • YSU's last victory in the series was a 5-2 win at Eastwood Field on April 9, 2017, during Head Coach Dan Bertolini's first season.
  • The Penguins' last win at Wright State was a 6-5 decision on April 10, 2015.
  • First meeting: May 19, 1977

A Win on Friday Would… 

  • Be YSU's fourth of the season and 37th under Head Coach Dan Bertolini.
  • Be YSU's second Horizon League victory of the season.
  • Allow the Penguins to win their second straight series opener.
  • Snap a nine-game losing streak to Wright State.
  • Give YSU its first win at Wright State since the 2015 season.
  • Give the Penguins two straight wins for the first time this season.

Recapping Bowling Green and Pittsburgh

at Bowling Green (Tuesday, March 26) // L 5-15:

  • Bowling Green scored 12 runs in the first four innings and beat the Youngstown State baseball team 15-5 on Tuesday afternoon at Steller Field.
  • Web Charles hit a pair of doubles as part of a three-hit day, and the senior also drove in two runs for the Penguins. Cody Dennis added two hits in four at bats as YSU had its 10-game winning streak against Bowling Green that dated back to 1996 snapped.
  • Bowling Green scored three runs on three hits in the first inning, and it capitalized on Penguin errors on consecutive at bats to take the early lead. The Falcons then had seven straight batters reach base after YSU starter Zach Lopatka retired the first two hitters in the second inning as they increased their lead to 8-0.
  • Dennis reached on a fielder's choice and scored on a wild pitch in the top of the third inning for YSU's first run, but Bowling Green countered with a run in the bottom half and three more in the fourth to take a 12-1 lead.
  • The Penguins outscored the Falcons 4-3 over the final four-and-a-half innings once the game settled in. Charles led off the fifth with a single, and he moved to third on a Tanner Montgomery's one-out single. Charles scored on a balk, and Montgomery scored from second on Dennis' single.
  • Bowling Green scored on a sacrifice fly in the seventh, and YSU's final two runs came when Charles doubled in Blaze Glenn and Drew Dickerson in the eighth. The Falcons scored a pair of unearned runs, their fifth and sixth unearned runs of the contest, in the bottom of the eighth for the final tally.
  • Lopatka was tagged with the loss, surrendering 11 runs, eight of them earned, in 3.1 innings. Grant Kersh was solid in relief as he allowed one earned run over 3.2 innings, and Aaron Williams pitched the eighth inning in his first collegiate appearance.

vs. Pittsburgh (Wednesday, March 27) // W 3-2 - 11 innings:

  • YSU earned a 3-2 win over Pittsburgh on a bad-hop, walk-off single by Phillip Glasser in the bottom of the 10th inning on Wednesday evening at Eastwood Field.
  • Dylan Swarmer hit a leadoff single to begin the home half of the 10th, and Zach Farrar come off the bench to pinch run. Farrar stole second base and was able to score when a hard-hit grounder off the bat of Glasser ricocheted off Pitt first baseman Bryce O'Farrell into foul territory.
  • Five YSU pitchers combined to allow just two runs, and the Penguins' bullpen blanked the Panthers over five innings. Starter Travis Perry provided a very solid outing, permitting two runs on five hits and fanning four over a career-high five innings.
  • Chad Coles tossed the sixth inning, and Brandon Matthews had a career-high four strikeouts over the next two frames. Brett Souder worked out of a jam in the ninth, and Kip DeShields pitched a perfect top of the 10th to provide the walk-off opportunity and eventually earn his second win of the season.
  • The Panthers jumped ahead early with two runs in the top of the second before the Penguins answered with a two-run homer from Jeff Wehler in the bottom of the fourth. The game remained tied until Glasser's walk-off delivered YSU its third win of the season, and second straight over Pitt.
  • The victory was the Penguins' third over a team from the ACC in the last three years. With a pair of wins over Pitt, the Penguins have now won two games against a Power Five opponent in the same season for the second time in their last four campaigns. YSU swept both games of a doubleheader at Missouri on March 12, 2016.
  • Glasser and Web Charles each had two hits to lead YSU offensively. Swarmer, Trevor Wiersma and Blaze Glenn each singled, and Glenn and Wehler both scored a run.
  • A big moment in the game came in the top of the ninth inning when Pitt threatened by getting runners to second and third with one out. However, Souder was able to get out of the jam by striking out Pitt cleanup-hitter Ron Washington Jr. and getting O'Farrell to ground into a fielder's choice.

Quick Notes Around The Diamond

  • YSU is tied for the Horizon League lead with 109 walks as a team heading into the weekend. The Penguins have five players who have drawn at least 10 free passes, and three who rank top 10 in the league.
  • Blaze Glenn ranks third with 18 walks, Jeff Wehler is fifth with 15 and Trevor Wiersma is tied for 10th with 12. YSU walked a school-record 272 times in 2018.
  • YSU ranks second in Horizon League with 41 stolen bases, and leads the conference with a success rate of .820 (41-for-50) in stolen base attempts.
  • The Penguins' 41 stolen bases also rank 44th nationally, and their 1.71 steals per game rank second in the Horizon League and 49th in the nation.
  • YSU has four players who rank in the top 10 of the Horizon League in stolen bases. Wehler ranks second with 10 steals, Glenn is third with nine, Drew Dickerson is sixth with six and Lucas Nasonti is tied for ninth with four.
  • YSU had a season-high 11 hits in the second game of a doubleheader vs. Oakland last Saturday. They also set a new season high with nine walks in each of Saturday's games while matching a season high with six runs in game one.
  • YSU also matched its season high of five stolen bases in game one on Saturday. The Guins have swiped at least two bases in eight of their last 10 games, and in 13 of 24 games overall.
  • Four Penguins rank in the top 10 of the Horizon League in stolen bases going into the weekend. Wehler ranks second in the league with 10 steals, Glenn is third with nine, Drew Dickerson is sixth with six and Lucas Nasonti is tied for ninth with four.
  • Glenn was named Horizon League Batter of the Week on Feb. 25 after batting .500 with two singles, a double, a two-run home run and four RBIs in eight at-bats over three games at No. 6/11 Florida State.
  • Wehler and Wiersma are each tied for the league lead with four home runs, and Glenn is tied for ninth with two.
  • Left-hander Colin Clark ranks seventh in the league with 31.1 innings pitched, and tied for sixth with 25 K's.
  • With its win over Pitt on Wednesday, YSU earned its third win over a team from the ACC in the last three years, and beat the Panthers for the second time this season.
  • With a 6-5 win over Oakland on Saturday, YSU won its home opener for the first time since the 2012 season.
  • The Penguins have led in 17 of their 24 games this season. They have held eight first-inning leads, and have scored first in 13 contests.
  • Inclement weather or the threat of it has caused schedule changes to be made in six of the Penguins' first seven weekend series of the 2019 season.
  • YSU played its first 19 games of the season on the road before its home-opening series with Oakland this past weekend.

Notebook

Success Against The Panthers

  • With its 3-2 victory over Pitt on Wednesday at Eastwood Field, YSU has now taken both matchups between the teams this season. The Penguins also won a 4-2 decision on March 13 at Charles L. Cost Field in Pittsburgh.
  • This season marks the first time that YSU had beat Pitt twice in the season. The Penguins had not defeated the Panthers since 2014, and had lost six straight in the series prior to this season. The two teams are scheduled to play again on Tuesday, April 16, at Charles L. Cost Field.
  • Wednesday's victory was the Penguins' third over a team from the ACC in the last three years. YSU also earned a 12-3 victory at No. 17 Georgia Tech on Feb. 26, 2017, in what was Bertolini's first victory as head coach.
  • With a pair of wins over Pitt, the Penguins have now won two games against a Power Five opponent in the same season for the second time in their last four campaigns. YSU swept both games of a doubleheader at SEC member Missouri on March 12, 2016.

Wehler Continues Hot Streak

  • Sophomore outfielder Jeff Wehler has had a hit in five straight games, in nine of his last 10 and in 12 of his last 15. He has also reached base in 11 straight outings, and notched six multi-hit games over YSU's last 15 contests. 
  • Wehler singled on Tuesday at Bowling Green before walking and hitting a game-tying, two-run home run in the fourth inning of YSU's 3-2 win over Pitt on Wednesday.
  • Over his last 10 games, Wehler is batting .368 and slugging .500 with 14 total hits, two doubles, two home runs and five RBIs. He has also drawn eight walks, scored five runs and stolen five bases while posting an OBP of .468 over that stretch.
  • Wehler leads YSU with a .247 batting average, a .416 slugging percentage, 22 total hits, 37 total bases, six multi-hit games, 14 runs scored and 10 stolen bases in 13 attempts. He is hitting .417 and slugging .583 with an OBP of .533 in six Horizon League games.
  • Wehler is also tied for the team and league lead with four home runs. The sophomore ranks second in the league with his 10 steals, and had not been caught before last weekend's series against Oakland. He is also second in the Horizon League with 89 at bats, fifth with 15 walks and 10th with 14 runs scored.
  • After stealing a team-high 25 bases last season, Wehler now ranks tied for ninth in YSU history with 35 in his career. He is one of just 12 players in program history to swipe at least 35 bags.
  • His 25 steals last season ranked second in the Horizon League, and were the most ever by a YSU freshman. He became the first Penguin since 1988 to reach at least 25 swipes in a season, and his total was also the fourth-most in a single season in school history. Only three freshmen in the nation had more steals than Wehler at the end of the 2018 regular season.

Charles Catching Fire

  • Senior outfielder Web Charles has started to find his groove at the plate as of late. 
  • Charles is batting .467 with seven total hits, two doubles, three RBIs, three walks, four runs scored and a stolen base over his last five games. He is slugging .600 with nine total bases and a .556 on-base percentage over that stretch. 
  • The Reno, Nev., native went 1-for-3 in both games of a doubleheader against Oakland last Saturday at Eastwood Field. In game one, Charles walked, stole a base, scored two runs and delivered an RBI single in the bottom of the sixth inning that tied the game. He also scored what proved to be the winning run later in the inning as YSU went on to earn a 6-5 victory.
  • In game two of the doubleheader, Charles singled, scored a run and drew a pair of walks.
  • In Tuesday's loss at Bowling Green, the senior was 3-for-4 with two doubles, two RBIs and a run scored. He also went 2-for-4 with two base hits in Wednesday's win over Pitt. Charles' matched career highs with his three hits and two RBIs on Tuesday.

Bullpen Getting It Done

  • Youngstown State got a great effort out if its bullpen in Wednesday's win over Pitt. Four Penguins relievers combined to allow just five hits and blank the Panthers over the final five innings.
  • Starter Travis Perry also provided a very solid outing, permitting two runs on five hits and fanning four over a career-high five innings.
  • Chad Coles tossed the sixth inning after Perry departed, and Brandon Matthews had a career-high four strikeouts over the next two frames. Brett Souder worked out of a jam in the ninth, and Kip DeShields pitched a perfect top of the 10th to provide the walk-off opportunity and eventually earn his second win of the season.
  • Over his last three relief appearances, DeShields has allowed just one earned run on two hits and struck out four over 3.2 innings with an ERA of 2.45.
  • In the first five appearances of his career, Matthews has allowed just three runs on 10 hits and fanned 10 batters with an impressive 1.88 ERA over 14.1 innings out of the bullpen. The freshman right-hander has surrendered just four hits over four scoreless innings in his last two outings.
  • Over his last five relief outings, Souder has surrendered just one run on five hits over five innings with a 1.80 ERA. The freshman right-hander pitched a scoreless ninth inning in YSU's 6-5 win over Oakland last Saturday to earn the first save of his career. He worked another scoreless ninth in Wednesday's win over Pittsburgh.
  • Over his last two appearances out the bullpen, sophomore right-hander Grant Kersh has only one earned run on five hits and struck out four batters over 4.2 innings. Kersh was solid in relief on Tuesday at Bowling Green as he allowed one earned run and struck out a career-high three batters over a career-high 3.2 innings.

Up Next

The Penguins will play four games next week beginning on Wednesday at 5 p.m. ET when they host Kent State at Eastwood Field. YSU will remain at home to host UIC for a three-game Horizon League series beginning on Friday at 5 p.m.