By Marc Weems
For the first time in nearly a month, Youngstown State University baseball (2-15 0-3 Horizon League) will be playing in Youngstown. It wouldn’t have gotten there without the play of centerfielder Lorenzo Arcuri. From March 5-11, Arcuri put together some impressive statistics.
Arcuri batted 9-of-16 with five home runs, nine runs batted in and scored six runs. From that performance, Arcuri earned National Player of the Week by Collegiate Baseball. He also earned the Horizon League Batter of the Week.
“I’m really proud of that,” Arcuri said. “Andrew Kendrick did it first. There are guys on the team that could’ve gotten that review too. That was just a stretch where everyone was hitting well. Although this is nice, it is more important to win games.”
YSU has struggled to get wins despite a much improved offense. Despite YSU’s 2-15 record, YSU has already hit more home runs than last season. Last year, the Penguins hit just 12 home runs. This year, Arcuri along with Kendrick have 12 home runs combined and 21 home runs for the team.
“Lorrenzo is doing a great job,” YSU head coach Dan Bertolini said. “He was struggling a little bit early on. He had not hit a home run in his career and hit five in that week. It’s pretty awesome to see him step up like that. He does things the right way.”
Bertolini also said that guys like Arcuri are a part of the team’s continued success.
This season, YSU has struggled to pitch well but the offense has been there in boatloads. It has scored 76 runs in 17 games which is nearly 4.5 runs per game which is nearly a run more per game than last season. YSU gives up almost 10 runs per game.
“Obviously, the goal is to win every game,” Arcuri said. “It is more about just playing good baseball. We’ve come out in certain games and played very good baseball without the result we wanted. We’ve also just not played as well as we wanted. Bottom line, we just want to play well on defense, offense and pitching.”
YSU has lost four games by four runs or less. It has been in many games or has gotten itself in early holes it can’t get out of.
“This just shows that we can do it,” Arcuri said. “We have the ability to do good things. We’ve had Kendrick do it and have other people put good weeks together. We know that our offense is going to be there. We just have to have everything click at the same time.”
Arcuri also said that having a team that plays as a unit is super important to good playing.
“Obviously it is great to have good individual efforts,” Bertolini said. “They are helping the team succeed. Like I said, wins and losses are important but also having guys develop well is key. We are just trying to get better at-bats each time up and do the right thing.”
YSU will be looking to get going much better with the start of its first home series.
“We try to really stress the importance of every pitch,” Bertolini said. “Lorenzo [Arcuri] is one of those guys that bought into. Each count is important. Every part of being in the batter’s box is important and everyone understands that now. I have always wanted them to see that they can succeed and that we will continue to work. Everything is a work in progress.”
YSU will be home for the Horizon League play with a weekend series against Oakland University (1-16, 0-0 HL) on March 24-26 at Eastwood Field in Niles, Ohio.