Softball Garners No. 3 Seed in 2019 Horizon League Softball Championship

Photo by Chris Kilroy
Photo by Chris Kilroy

2019 Horizon League Softball Championship Bracket
Championship Central

Indianapolis, Ind. -- The Youngstown State softball team garnered the No. 3 seed in the 2019 Horizon League Softball Championship, May 8-11, hosted by No. 1 seeded UIC in Chicago, Ill.

The Penguins finished Horizon League play with a 13-9 after sweeping Green Bay last weekend. Youngstown State will face No. 6 seed Oakland, who went 9-14, in Game Two on Wednesday, May 8, at 3:30 p.m ET.

With a win the Penguins will face No. 2 Detroit Mercy, Thursday, May 9, at 3:30 p.m. If YSU loses to Oakland, it will play an elimination game against the loser of the No. 4 Northern Kentucky-No. 5 IUPUI game on Wednesday at 6 p.m. ET.

The Penguins swept the season series from Oakland, March 23-24, at the Covelli Sports Complex. YSU defeated the Golden Grizzlies, 4-2, 8-4, and 14-9.

UIC (20-4) had earned the title of Horizon League Softball Regular Season Champions for the fifth consecutive season. With the title, the Flames will host the 2019 #HLSB Championships (May 8-11) and also have a first-round bye. UIC will face the winner of game one at 1 p.m. ET/noon CT on Thursday, May 9.

Detroit Mercy (16-8) secured the number two seed and will also receive a first-round bye. The Titans will open their championship action on Thursday, May 9 at 3:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. CT against the winner of game two.

Northern Kentucky (12-11) claimed the number four seed in the championship with a 2-1 series win over Cleveland State to wrap up regular season competition. The Norse will battle number five seed IUPUI (11-11) in the game one at 1 p.m. ET/noon CT on Wednesday, May 8. The Jags swept the three-game series with the Norse in #HLSB play.

The #HLSB Championship game is set for Saturday, May 11 at 1 p.m. ET/noon CT. Every game of the championship will be streamed live on ESPN+. Visit championship central for video links and more information.

Jarvis Named Freshman of the Year
Youngstown State freshman Addy Jarvis has been named the Horizon League Freshman of the Yea rafter a vote of the league's head coaches. Jarvis also earned All-Horizon League Second-Team honors and was selected to the All-Freshman Team. Jarvis, who set the YSU single-season strikeout record with 206, leads the league in strikeouts and tied for the league lead with seven shutouts. She became the first Horizon League pitcher to amass more than 200 whiffs since 2013 and ranks fourth with a 2.62 earned-run average. She became the third YSU player in the last six years to be named freshman of the year and the fifth overall to be named freshman or newcomer of the year.

Zappitelli, Cea Earn Postseason Honors
Senior Lexi Zappitelli was named All-Horizon League Second-Team and Grace Cea was named to the All-Freshman Team. Zappitelli leads the Penguins with a .303 overall batting average but hit .329 in league play while Cea ranked 10th in the league with 30 runs batted in. Cea also belted five home runs with 11 doubles. 

Nikki Saibene Named Player of the Week
Sophomore Nikki Saibene was named the Horizon League Player of the Week on May 6. Saibene led the Penguins to a 3-0 record last week and helped YSU earn the No. 3 seed in the league championship. She batted .429 with three home runs, six RBIs, three runs scored and owned an on-base percentage of .556 and a slugging percentage of 1.714. Saibene belted a home run in three consecutive games and also stole a base.

This Season Against Oakland
This season, Youngstown State swept the season series against Oakland on March 23-24. Grace Cea led the Penguins with a .556 batting average with a home run and six RBIs. Yazmine Romero batted .500 with three runs scored while Lexi Zappitelli hit .500 and scored four times. Paige Geanangel, Addy Jarvis and Elle Buffenbarger each picked up a victory against the Golden Grizzlies.

Penguins Like Late Leads
Youngstown State has been successful when owning a lead after the fourth inning. The Penguins are 21-1 when leading after four innings, 18-0 when leading after five and 19-0 when leading after six innings.

Penguins Set Consecutive Win Record
Youngstown State broke a 15-year-old record by winning 11 consecutive games from March 20 through April 3. The old record of 10 was set in 2004.

Jarvis Set Single-Game Ks Record, Leads HL in Ks
Freshman Addy Jarvis set the Youngstown State single-game strikeout record with a career-high 15 Ks against Niagara on April 3. She is also making her mark as one of the top pitchers in the Horizon League. She leads the league with 206 strikeouts, is tied for the lead with seven shutouts, ranks third with 12 wins and 16 complete games.

Saibene Ties RBI Mark
Sophomore Nikki Saibene became just the second player in school history to drive in seven runs in a game when she hit a three-run home run and a grand slam against Oakland on March 24. Saibene is also the 18th player in school history to hit a grand slam. The last player to hit two home runs in a game was Saibene in 2018 against Green Bay at the Covelli Sports Complex.
 
Geanangel, Buffenbarger Moving Up Ks Chart
Senior Paige Geanangel and sophomore Elle Buffenbarger are both moving up the YSU career strikeout list. Buffenbarger now ranks sixth all-time with 246 strikeouts and Geanangel is tied for seventh with 221. That duo also became the eighth (Buffenbarger) and ninth (Geanangel) players in school history to record at least 200 career strikeouts. The last sophomore pitcher to accumulate 200 career strikeouts was Casey Crozier, who had 224 through two full seasons. Geanangel also ranks tied for fourth all-time with 39 wins, seventh all-time with 71 career games started and 10th all-time with 447 innings pitched.