By Cameron Stubbs
The Youngstown State University softball team played games six through nine of its 18-game road trip to start off the season.
The Penguins made the trip to South Carolina to compete on the campus of Winthrop University in the Winthrop University Softball Tournament.
The first game of the tournament was against Winthrop, where the Penguins fell to a five-inning run-rule game 10-1.
Held to just two hits total for the first matchup, the biggest hit came from junior catcher Conchetta Rinaldi with a double in the second inning.
Fifth-year pitcher Ellie Buffenbarger was handed her second loss of the season, giving up six earned runs in 1⅓ innings.
Game two of the day saw a more controlled pitching performance as freshman Bree Kohler pitched six innings, giving up just one earned run and striking out eight. Ultimately, she was handed the loss as Western Carolina University walked off on a single in the seventh inning.
Freshman Taylor Truran had the only RBI for the Penguins with a solo shot in the fifth inning.
Day Two of the tournament saw a fire lit within the Penguins that helped them finish the tournament on a high note.
Runs were abundant versus the University at Albany as a 10-5 win for the Penguins was exactly what the team needed.
A rejuvenated Buffenbarger pitched a complete game as she gave up five earned runs and struck out 11 while on the mound.
The offense was led by Truran and junior Avrey Schumacher, who both contributed with two runs batted in each. Rinaldi, Kohler, sophomore Hailey Niederkohr, senior Grace Cea and junior Kenedy Vrable each batted in one run.
Game two versus Towson University was the Penguins’ best game of the season so far. The 12-1 run-rule win came on the back of Rinaldi, who homered for the second straight day, this one a three-run shot. She had a total of four RBIs for the game.
Not far behind was fifth-year Nikki Saibene with three RBIs. Niederkor had two RBIs and fifth-year Yazmine Romero and senior Alex DeLeon contributed with runs batted in of their own.
Sophomore pitcher Sophie Howell notched her first win of the season as she gave up only one earned run on five hits and had nine strikeouts.
The Penguins look to carry on the momentum of the last two games this weekend as they head to Hampton, Virginia, to face off in the Hampton University Tournament. On Friday and Saturday, Youngstown State is slated for two games each day.
Follow along for updates on the games at YSUsports.com