Softball Opens Horizon League Against Valpo This Weekend

Jordan Macey
Jordan Macey

Notes vs. Valparaiso

First Pitch

The Youngstown State softball team opens Horizon League play with a three-game series against Valparaiso, March 26-27, at the YSU Softball Field. The Penguins and Crusaders will play a doubleheader, Saturday at Noon, and a single game, Sunday, at 1 p.m.


Last Time Out

The Penguins have won three of their last four games after sweeping a doubleheader from St. Bonaventure, 12-4, 9-5, and splitting a pair with Akron, losing 8-0, and winning 11-8.


Castiglione Named Senior CLASS Award Candidate

Youngstown State senior Miranda Castiglione is one of 30 of the top NCAA® softball student-athletes who excel both on and off the field and is a candidates for the 2016 Senior CLASS Award® in collegiate softball. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School ®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. The 30 candidates will be narrowed to 10 finalists later in the season, and those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select one candidate who best exemplifies excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition. The Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced during the 2016 Women's College World Series®.


Dowd Climbing Home Run Chart

Junior Sarah Dowd is tied for the team lead with five home runs this season and now ranks third on the Youngstown State career home run list with 23. She needs two more to move into a tie for second with 25 and become just the third player in school history to hit at least 25 home runs.


Penguins Dig the Long Ball

Through the first 21 games of the year, the Penguins have blasted 18 home runs. Junior Sarah Dowd and sophomore Cali Mikovich lead the team with five homers each. Junior Maria Lacatena has five home runs and senior Miranda Castiglione has three. Castiglione now ranks sixth on the all-time list with 20.


Extra, Extra

The Penguins have been finding the gaps in the outfield this season and have a total of 56 extra-base hits with 32 doubles, six triples and 18 homers. Of the Penguins 178 total hits, 56 have gone for extra-bases. That equates to 31.5 percent of the Penguins hits are extra-base hits.


Ain't It Grand

Of the Penguins 18 home runs, four have been grand slams. Cali Mikovich has two and Sarah Dowd and Katie Smallcomb have each hit a grand slam this season. It marks the first time in school history that the Penguins have hit at least four grand slams in a season. It is also just the second time YSU has hit more than one grand slam in a season. The last time was in 2003.


Goin' Back to Cali

Sophomore Cali Mikovich became the first player in school history to hit more than one grand slam in a season. Mikovich, who leads the team with 24 RBIs, hit a grand slam against St. Bonaventure on March 23 and against UNC-Greensboro on Feb. 28.


Minney Up To Eighth on Strikeout List

Junior pitcher Caitlyn Minney has eclipsed the top 10 for career strikeouts at Youngstown State. Minney ranks eighth all-time with 181 and needs just two more to move into a tie for seventh place with 183 (Be Cicero, 1999-2002). She also needs just 19 more to become the sixth pitcher in school history to record at least 200 career strikeouts.


Gibson Still Raking

Junior Alexandria Gibson is picking up where she left off in 2015. Gibson, who batted .364 last season, is second on the team with a .397 batting average and is tied for third with seven multi-hit games. Gibson has been solid with a .474 average (9-for-19) with runners in scoring position and .778 (7-for-9) with runners on third and less than two outs.


Penguin Slug Fest

The Penguins have an impressive .477 team slugging percentage, which leads the Horizon League. Five players have a slugging percentage above .500 led by Miranda Castiglione's .784. Junior Sarah Dowd has a slugging percentage of .716 while Cali Mikovich is at .671. Maria Lacatena and Alex Gibson are at .563 and .534, respectively.