Softball Closes Out Regular Season at Horizon League Leader UIC

Paige Geanangel (Photo by Chris Kilroy)
Paige Geanangel (Photo by Chris Kilroy)

First Pitch
The Youngstown State softball team (24-21, 14-7 Horizon League) closes out the 2018 regular season with a three-game series against Horizon League leader UIC, May 4-5, in Chicago, Ill. First pitch on Friday is slated for a 5 p.m. ET start while Saturday's doubleheader is scheduled for a 2 p.m. ET start.

Last Time Out
The Penguins won the season series over Green Bay, April 27-28, winning 2-1 and 9-2 and falling 3-2 in the series finale. The Penguins won the opener by scoring twice in the bottom of the seventh on a pinch-hit single by Milena Lacatena and a walk-off error. Youngstown State blasted four home runs en route to the 9-2 victory.

Up Next
Youngstown State will play in the 2018 Horizon League Softball Championship, May 9-12.

About UIC
The Flames enter the series with an overall record of 27-18 and leads the Horizon League with a 16-4 record. Lexi Watts leads the Flames with a .445 batting average and has 31 stolen bases, both league highs. Kayla Wedl is batting .364 and lead the team with seven home runs while Skylee James leads the team with 45 RBIs. Allie Trudeau leads the pitching staff with a 12-7 record and an earned-run average of 2.83. Karissa Frazier has 10 wins and three saves and 76 strikeouts.

The UIC Series
The Penguins and Flames have met 58 times previously and UIC leads the all-time series, 41-17. Last year, UIC defeated the Penguins five times, including in the 2017 Horizon League Championship Game. The last time the Penguins defeated the Flames was a 5-4 victory in 2016 at the Covelli Sports Complex. YSU also defeated Flames, 17-4, at UIC in 2015.

What's at Stake
The Penguins can finish as high as first and no lower than third at the end of the weekend. Youngstown State will need to sweep the Flames in order to win the regular-season championship and host the 2018 Horizon League Championship. The Penguins will finish second with a win win over UIC and an Oakland loss to Green Bay, two wins over UIC or two Oakland losses to the Phoenix.

Streak Snapped
Youngstown State won an impressive nine straight games before its loss to Green Bay on April 28. The streak tied for the second-longest in school history and just the fourth time in school history the Penguins had won at least nine concecutive games.

Penguins on the Road
Youngstown State has won its last six Horizon League road games after sweeping Cleveland State, April 20-21, and Wright State, April 24-25). Sophomore Maddi Lusk batted .526 with six runs scored andn four runs batted in while Lexi Zappitelli drove in eight runs and batted .455. The pitching staff of Paige Geanangel and Elle Buffenbarger combined for an earned-run average of 2.12. Each went 3-0 while Buffenbarger struck out 18 and had an ERA of 2.07 while Geanangel posted a 2.16 ERA. 

Campbell Notches Career Win 500
On April 10, Head Coach Brian Campbell earned the 500th win of his career when the Penguins defeated Northern Kentucky, 2-1. Earlier this season on March 10, Campbell become the winningest coach in YSU softball history by earning his 208th win at YSU and breaking the old mark of 207 set by Hall of Fame Coach Ed Strauss from 1985-95. Now in his 10th season at Youngstown State, Campbell has 225 victories at YSU and 510 overall. 

Saibene Joins Elite Club
With two home runs in the 9-2 win over Green Bay, freshman Nikki Saibene became just the 17th player in school history to hit multiple home runs in a game. The last YSU player to hit at least two home runs in a game was Maria Lacatena on March 24, 2017.

Yaz Sets Freshman Hits Record
With three hits during the Wright State series, freshman Yazmine Romero set the YSU freshman single-season hits record at 55. Romero now has 59 hits through 45 games, which ranks second in the Horizon League. She needs one more hit to become the first freshman and the seventh player in school history to record at least 60 hits in a season. She broke the old record for hits by a freshman of 54 set by Tiffany Patteson in 2003. Only four other freshman have reached 50 hits in a season - Patteson, Haley Thomas (53, 2009), Rumph and Liz Holt (52, 2003). Romero also needs four more hits to move into the top 10 on the single-season hits list.

Mikovich in Top 10
With a pair of doubles against Wright State, senior Cali Mikovich moved into 10th on the YSU career doubles list with 34. Mikovich now ranks in the YSU career top 10 in eight different categories. She's tied for third with nine triples, fourth with a .541 slugging percentage, fourth with 127 runs scored and 25 home runs, seventh with 184 hits and 108 RBIs, 10th a .320 batting average and 10th in doubles.

Taylor Moves into Top 10
With her monstrous home run against Green Bay, senior Stevie Taylor moved into a tie for 10th place on the YSU all-time home run list with 17. She ranks tied for fourth in the Horizon League with six home runs.

Buffenbarger Moving Up Single-Season K Chart
Freshman Elle Buffenbarger is quickly moving up the Youngstown State single-season strikeout chart. Buffenbarger leads the team and ranks fourth in the league with 108 strikeouts. That total is eighth on the YSU single-season strikout chart. She is also just the third YSU freshman pitcher to post a least 100 whiffs in a year. The other two were Kelly Murphy (179, 2003) and Maddi Lusk (143, 2017).

Geanangel Climbing Charts
Junior Paige Geanangel continues her climb up the YSU career wins ladder. She ranks sixth all-time with 34 career wins and needs three more to move into fifth place. Geanangel also ranks 10th all-time with 169 career strikeouts.