By Robert Hayes
The Youngstown State University softball team has been on an absolute roll. After starting the season 4-17, the Penguins have gone on a historic win streak by winning 11 straight games, breaking the previous record of 10 straight wins that was set back in 2004.
The world has changed quite a bit since YSU’s previous win streak. There was no Twitter, Instagram or iPhones. Halo 2 was still in development, MySpace was the dominating social media platform, Jon Heacock was YSU’s football coach and the Red Sox were still plagued by the Curse of the Bambino.
In 2004 the team beat Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania, Central Michigan University and College of the Holy Cross during their win streak. The 2019 Penguins took down schools such as Kent State University, the University of Akron and Oakland University during their win streak.
The win streak in 2004 and 2019 share of a common variable, as YSU beat Niagara University during the school’s two longest win streaks. A 12-1 victory over the Purple Eagles on March 12, 2004, gave YSU the seventh win in their previous win streak, and a doubleheader sweep of Niagara on April 3, 2019, gave the Penguins their 10th and 11th straight victories.
YSU brought power to Niagara Wednesday afternoon, as Grace Cea and Liz Birkbeck both had a homerun, and Birkbeck had a total of five RBI in the first game of the afternoon. Cea’s homerun netted her two RBI, and Maddi Lusk joined in on the fun with an RBI double.
Addy Jarvis had another dominating performance, as she recorded a career high 15 strikeouts, with her only mistake being a three run homerun she gave up in the bottom of the fourth inning.
The freshman pitcher has now recorded 131 strikeouts through 101.1 innings pitched on the season. Her 15 strikeouts also set a new single game record for YSU.
The Penguins (15-17, 4-0) took an early lead in the second game, as Sophia Patonis recorded her first career RBI on a single to left field in the top of the second inning to make it a 1-0 ballgame.
Eventually, the Purple Eagles (2-19) came fighting back, as they knocked in three runs in the bottom of the fourth off of Elle Buffenbarger to take a 3-1 advantage. YSU chipped away, as Alex DeLeon scored on an unearned run in the top of the 5th to make it a 3-2 contest.
Niagara added to their lead by adding two runs in the bottom of the fifth, it make it a 5-2 going into the sixth inning, but YSU had a comeback in store for them.
DeLeon walked with the bases loaded in the top of the sixth inning to cut the lead down to 5-3. This set up Nikki Saibene, as she ripped a double down left field, which cleared the bases and put YSU out in front by a score of 6-5.
Paige Geanangel, who came in during the bottom of the fifth, set the Purple Eagles down in order in the bottom of the sixth inning to lead YSU to their record breaking win.
It should be noted that the game was called early due to darkness, and the two team didn’t have the opportunity to play the seventh inning.
Riding high on their historic streak, the Penguins look to continue their recent success at the University of Detroit Mercy (13-20, 5-4) this weekend with a single game on Friday at 4 p.m. and doubleheader starting on Saturday at 12 p.m.