By Marc Weems
With the winter pretending to break this week, the Youngstown State University softball and baseball team both began its regular seasons last weekend.
For the YSU softball team, the expectations haven’t been this high in years. It started the year at 2-0 before losing two games. It played four games between Feb. 9-10.
It started with a 7-1 over Hampton University in the Gardner Webb Tournament. The Penguins hit 11 of 35 and struck out just two times. Nikki Saibene finished 2 for 5 with three runs scored. Pitcher Maddi Lusk went 2 for 5 with two RBIs.
In the second game of the weekend, YSU defeated the host team, 7-4. Paige Geanangel pitched 4.0 innings with one hit and gave up one run. The Penguins scored three runs in the first inning to get the win. Lusk was 2 for 4 with three RBIs and a run scored.
YSU then lost two games. The Penguins got destroyed by Western Kentucky University by a score of 17-6 in five innings.
WKU scored seven runs in the third inning to get the big win in the tournament. YSU gave up six unearned runs in the loss on six errors. They lost despite hitting 9 for 23.
The last game of the weekend came against the host again but Gardner-Webb got revenge with a walk-off in the bottom of the seventh.
GW’s Rachel Cumiskey knocked in Callie Thornton on a double to right center field in an 8-7 victory.
Center fielder Hannah Lucas went 3 for 4 with three RBIs and Yazmine Romero went 2 for 4 with an RBI.
On the baseball diamond, the YSU baseball team lost two out of three at Belmont University between Feb. 17-19.
The Penguins began the year with an 8-4 win over Belmont. Right fielder Blaze Glenn hit a two-run home run in the top of ninth to give YSU a four-run advantage. He went 2 for 5.
Catcher Nick Caruso went 3 for 4 with two RBIs. Starting pitcher Greg Dunham pitched 6.0 innings with four hits and one earned run.
In game two, YSU lost 5-1 to Belmont. Left fielder Zach Lopatka went 2 for 4 with the only run scored. Belmont’s starting pitcher, Connor Etheridge went 6.0 innings while giving up four hits and one earned run. YSU grounded into six double plays in the loss.
In the finale of the series, Belmont defeated YSU in a 5-2 game. YSU got up 2-0 on a Nick Caruso two-run double in the top of the second inning. Belmont then scored five unanswered runs to the win.
Belmont’s Casey Queener pitched 6.0 innings of three-hit ball with seven strikeouts.
YSU baseball now faces the University of Louisville on Feb. 23-25. The YSU softball team plays two doubleheaders and a single game between Feb. 23-25. They play Lafayette College on Friday and Saturday and the University of Buffalo on those same days as part of the doubleheaders. YSU then plays the host of the tournament, Hampton University, on Feb. 25.