By Brian Yauger
“It’s been a rocky start for the Youngstown State University baseball team, but the team is showing signs of a turnaround after two wins in its last four games.”
Since this was written last week, YSU baseball has won three of their last five games and the signs keep getting brighter. The Penguins are now 7-25 and 4-8 in Horizon League play, and are closing the wins and losses gap from their rough start.
The April 3 game against Kent State University went in favor of the Penguins as Phillip Glasser ran home on a wild pitch to give YSU a 4-3 walk-off win in 11 innings.
“I saw the ball kick, so I just went because it’s deep in the game, and I just had to take a chance and luckily it paid off,” Glasser said. “I was safe, I got my hand in there. It was a close call. It probably could have been called either way, but I still think I got in there a little bit early.”
YSU went on to take two games out of the three game series against the Horizon League leading University of Illinois-Chicago.
Friday’s series-opening game went in favor of YSU as they took down UIC 7-3. Blaze Glenn hit a two-run bomb in the sixth inning and finished the game with five RBIs.
Glenn’s improvement over the last few weeks has not gone unnoticed by Penguins coach Dan Bertolini.
“I think he’s been swinging the bat well the last couple of weeks,” Bertolini said. “He hadn’t had a lot of a results from it, but we could see it coming. He had two hits against Wright State in the last game of the series. He had two hits against Kent, that’s a really good sign.”
Game two also went in favor of YSU with the Penguins coming away with a 6-5 victory. Freshman Travis Perry got the first win of his career, pitching seven innings and recording three strikeouts.
“I’m just glad we’re starting to play some good baseball, that’s what we’re happy about,” Bertolini said after game two of the series. “It was another game with double-digit hits, and we’re finding ways to score runs.”
Hitting has gone from an issue to a key to their recent successes.
“You can see the confidence starting to build in our hitters,” Bertolini said. “It’s contagious. When you’re not hitting, you’re not hitting. When you’re hitting, you’re hitting. It’s big that the middle of our order is really swinging the bats really well.”
YSU dropped game three 8-3, but still left room for optimism going forward.
“I thought the bat was swung really well and didn’t get a lot of results,” Bertolini said.
Glenn hit his fourth home run of the season in game three and finished the season going 8-12 at the plate and hit two home runs.
Zach Farrar has had a couple issues that have kept him out of the lineup, but things look to be changing for the Chicago White Sox draft pick.
“He’s [Farrar] doing a great job,” Bertolini said. “He’s just had some minor things that have held him back, whether sickness or a couple of injuries that have held him from being in the lineup consistently. He’s given some great at-bats and working hard, so we’re looking forward to changing his role and figuring out where he can go from here.”
Tuesday night, the Penguins fell in a barnburner, losing to Pennsylvania State University 16-15. YSU came back from an eight run deficit, scoring 12 runs across five innings to take a 15-13 lead in the ninth inning.
Penn State wouldn’t go away though, scoring three runs in the bottom of the ninth to get the victory.
Up next for the Penguins is a four-game road trip. They play a three-game series against the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and then travel to Pennsylvania to take on the University of Pittsburgh.
Taking three of five after a rough start for the Penguins shows the signs of improvement are definitely there. Even the biggest doubters have to admit it’s getting better.
Note: At the time of publication, the Penguins will have played against the University of Toledo, but at the time of writing they have not.