Softball Closes Out Regular Season With Three-Game Series At Valpo

Miranda Castiglione (Photo by Ron Garchar)
Miranda Castiglione (Photo by Ron Garchar)

The Youngstown State softball team (18-28, 7-10 HL) concludes the 2015 regular season with a three-game Horizon League series against Valparaiso, May 1-2, in Valparaiso, Ind. First pitch on Friday is slated for 4 p.m. EDT. Saturday's doubleheader is set for a Noon start.

Last Time Out
The Penguins are coming off a doubleheader split against St. Bonaventure on April 29. The Penguins scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning for the 4-3 come-from-behind victory. Freshman Cali Mikovich went 3-for-4 and drove in the game-winning run with a single up the middle. The Penguins dropped the second game, 13-7. Freshman Kelly Thompson-Cappadocio went 3-for-4 while senior Kayla Haslett was 2-for-4 with a solo home run in the nightcap.

About Valpo
The Crusaders enter the game with an overall record of 12-33 and 6-11 in league play, just one game behind the Penguins. Kaitlyn Ranieri leads the team with a .415 batting average and ranks fourth in the Horizon League. She also has a team-best 10 home runs, 14 doubles and 36 runs batted in. Ashly Montgomery leads the Valpo pitching staff with a record of 6-9 and a 6.57 earned-run average.

Castiglione Streakin'
Junior Miranda Castiglione has a pair of long streaks going. Castiglione has reached base in the last 13 games and is on an 11-game hit streak. Over the last 11 games, Castiglione, who ranks 10th in the Horizon League with a .354 batting average, is batting .395 (17-for-43) with nine runs scored, nine runs batted in, two doubles, a triple, a home run and five stolen bases. She is also slugging at a .558 clip.

Gibson A "Lethal Weapon"
Since being inserted into the starting lineup, sophomore Alexandria Gibson has been one of the Penguins' top offensive threats. Gibson is batting .368 with a pair of doubles and two home runs and has driven in 18 runs in just 19 starts. Both of Gibson's home runs have come against Horizon League opponents and she is batting .364 against the league. 

Goin' Back to Cali
Freshman Cali Mikovich has been making some noise during her rookie campaign. Mikovich is batting .310 overall with seven home runs, six doubles, three triples and 29 runs batted in. She has also scored 26 runs. In league play, Mikovich is batting .353 (18-for-51) with eight runs scored, nine RBIs, two home runs and a pair of doubles.

No Sophomore Slumpin'
Brittney Moffatt's second season at Youngstown State does not fall into the "Sophomore Slump" category. Moffatt, who had just six at-bats as a freshman, ranks third on the team with a .328 batting average (45-for-137). In league play, Moffatt leads the team with a .389 average and has scored seven runs.  

No Dowd About It
Sophomore Sarah Dowd is having another productive year for the Penguins. The 2014 Horizon League Freshman of the Year, Dowd leads the team with nine home runs and is just two shy of tying the YSU single-season home run record. She also leads the team with 40 runs scored, which is fourth on the YSU single-season list. Against league foes, Dowd has five home runs, 12 RBIs and is batting .339 with 18 runs scored. 

Guins Dig the Long Ball
The Penguins have hit 37 home runs this season, which is the third-highest total in a single-season. The school mark of 39 was set in 2008 and tied in 2010. Eight different players have hit a home run this season and six of the eight have belted at least three home runs.