Softball Notches Season Sweep, Saibene Ties Single-Game RBIs Record

Nikki Saibene (Photo by Chris Kilroy)
Nikki Saibene (Photo by Chris Kilroy)

Nikki Saibene went 2-for-4 with two home runs, including a grand slam, and tied a school single-game record with seven RBIs as the Youngstown State softball team defeated Oakland, 14-9, and picked up the season sweep over the Golden Grizzlies on Sunday at the Covelli Sports Complex.

With the win, the Penguins extend their winning streak to four games and improve 8-17 overall and 3-0 in the Horizon League. Oakland falls to 7-14 overall and 0-3 in the league.

Saibene is the 18th player in school history to hit a grand slam, and she tied the single-game runs batted in record set by Miranda Castiglione in 2014.

With the game tied 9-9 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning, Maddi Lusk plated Lexi Zappitelli, who single and reached second on Grace Cea's fielder's choice, to break the tie and give the Penguins a 10-9 edge. Following a wild pitch that put runners on second and third, Elizabeth Birkbeck was intentionally walked to load the bases. 

After a strikeout, Saibene lauched a 3-2, two-out grand slam to left-center field and extended the Penguins lead to 14-9

Oakland struck first with three runs on three hits in the top of the first inning. The Penguins answered with four in the bottom half of the frame to take a 4-3 lead. Yazmine Romero led off with an infield single and Zappitelli walked before Cea crushed the first pitch over the left-field wall. After Lusk singled and advanced to second on Tatum Christy's sacrifice bunt, Birkbeck single to right-center to plate Lusk with the Penguins' fourth run.

The Golden Grizzlies regained the lead, 5-4, with two runs in the top of the second. YSU responded with five in the bottom half to take a 9-5 lead. Cea knotted the game at 5-5 with a sacrifice fly, Alex DeLeon put the Penguins ahead 6-5 with a singe up the middle, and Saibene blasted a three-run home run to left-center to push the Penguins lead to four runs.

In the top of the fourth, Youngstown State aided the Oakland cause with two errors that lead to three runs and cut the Penguins lead to 9-8. Oakland tied the game in the top of the fifth with an unearned run to tie the game at 9-9.

Youngstown State hosts Akron in a doubleheader, Tuesday, March 26. First pitch is at 3 p.m.