By Dom Joseph
The Youngstown State University softball team is on a nine-game winning streak, and are led by a power hitter and shutout pitcher.
YSU was scheduled to play Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, a Horizon League opponent in a three-game series. However, due to inclement weather, only one game was played in Indianapolis.
In the one game played, YSU notched their ninth consecutive win, defeating the Jaguars 6-3. All six runs were scored via home runs for the Penguins, a feat that is hard to accomplish. Junior Elizabeth Birkbeck began the show with a solo homer in the second inning. In the fourth, junior Maddi Lusk launched a solo shot to extend the lead to 2-0.
In her next at-bat, Lusk was prepared to one-up herself. With IUPUI scoring two innings prior, YSU’s lead was now vulnerable. Lusk was not phased, as she sent another pitch over the fence, putting the team ahead 3-1.
YSU’s conference foe refused to go away. In a fierce sixth inning, the Jaguars scored two runs to tie the game at three entering a pivotal seventh inning.
The Penguins needed to respond and they did. With seniors Lexi Zappitelli and Dani Dadig on base, freshman Grace Cea crushed a game-sealing three-run homer. The Jaguars were unable to respond, as YSU grabbed their ninth straight win.
In the circle for the Penguins was freshman Addy Jarvis. Although she gave up three runs, Jarvis was able to notch nine strikeouts, pitching all seven innings.
Following their stellar performances against IUPUI, Lusk and Jarvis received Horizon League weekly honors. Lusk was named Player of the Week for her efforts throughout the entire week prior.
Including the IUPUI match, Lusk batted .471, hitting eight pitches in 17 plate appearances. She hit three home runs, one double and five RBI.
As for Jarvis, she worked in the circle in three games during the week, not losing a match and not missing an inning. Her ERA for the week was an impressive 1.33, to go along with 30 strikeouts. In her 21 innings of business, her strikeouts by game were 11, 10 and 9.
Along with their doubleheader against the Niagara Purple Eagles, the team will prepare for another three game series within the Horizon League. They will travel to Michigan to face the University of Detroit Mercy. Following that, they will travel to Pennsylvania to face the Robert Morris University Colonials for a doubleheader.