By Dom Joseph
The 2019 campaign for the Youngstown State University softball team is well underway. The team has spent their opening stretch touring the Carolinas in preparation of their home and looming conference schedule.
Unfortunately for the Penguins, they are 0-7 to start the season; however, they have taken on Division I powerhouses including East Carolina University, Miami University, the University of South Carolina and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
There are three seniors on this year’s squad: Dani Dadig, Lexi Zappitelli and Paige Geanangel. Dadig, an outfielder, has scored one run so far in the early season. Her batting average last season was .167, with a .286 on-base percentage.
Zappitelli, also an outfielder, has four hits and one run scored to her name so far this year. She had a blistering 2018 season, belting two home runs to go along with 52 hits, 30 runs scored, 22 RBI and a .413 batting average, which was ranked 36th best in the entire county.
Geanangel, a pitcher, has had a rough go to 2019. In seven games, she has recorded four strikeouts with 5.1 innings pitched. However, her career at YSU is a noteworthy one. She has 182 strikeouts to her name, with 34 total wins. She has a career ERA of 3.93, and has logged 381 innings pitched.
There are many returning starters to the lineup for 2019. Sophomore Elle Buffenbarger will share time pitching with Geanangel. In her freshman year, Buffenbarger had a staggering 182 strikeouts to go along with ten wins. Her current ERA is at 7.16, a number that will drop as the home schedule begins.
Another returning sophomore is Yazmine Romero, who had a strong freshman season, batting .393. She currently sits at .286, with six hits and two runs scored.
Junior Maddi Lusk will return seeking to have another strong year in the batter’s box. She has two home runs, three hits and two RBI to start off 2019, to go along with three runs scored. Lusk batted .315 last season, hitting four homers and 35 RBI.
Sophomore Nikki Saibene enters 2019 coming off a six-home-run freshman year. Saibene batted .216 with 23 RBI, 30 hits and a .283 on-base percentage.
The road trip is not over yet for the softball team, as a notable upcoming matchup is with the North Carolina State Wolfpack. The home schedule begins on March 20, as the team will host a two day series against the Kent State University Golden Flashes.
Their first conference matchup will come right after this series, as the team will host the Oakland University Golden Grizzlies for a three game series. Following this series, the team will host the University of Akron for a two-game series.