By Cameron Stubbs
The Youngstown State University softball team finally returned home to play its first games on campus after an 18-game roadtrip to start the season.
After a 9-9 record this season, the Penguins’ first homestand was against conference opponent University of Detroit Mercy.
The day started off with a doubleheader where fifth-year pitcher Elle Buffenbarger gave up four earned runs in the first game.
Buffenbarger was backed up by the offense as junior Conchetta Rinaldi had a big day leading the team with three hits and an RBI.
Fellow juniors Megan Turner and Avery Schumacher both drove in three RBIs to lead the Penguins to an 8-3 win over the Titans.
Game two saw freshman pitcher Bree Kohler throw a complete game, allowing just one earned run. Kohler also contributed to the offense by getting a hit of her own in the third inning.
Freshman Taylor Truran led the team on offense as she knocked in two runs with a double in the second inning. Schumacher also contributed with two doubles and an RBI.
The 3-1 win gave the Penguins momentum for the final game of the series the next day.
Sophomore Sophie Howell allowed three hits and one earned run against the 26 batters she faced. This marked yet another complete game for the Penguins.
A two-run single in the first by Rinaldi were the only runs scored for the Penguins.
Rinaldi went 5-for-7 overall for the doubleheader. After the game, she spoke about her mindset so far this season.
“Last year, I just think I was putting too much pressure on myself,” Rinaldi said. “I think that with my amazing teammates behind me, the sky’s the limit.”
This three-game win streak was followed by a local matchup when The University of Akron came to campus for a doubleheader.
Game one saw the Penguins blast eight base hits with four for extra bases. Schumacher and fifth-year Yamzine Romero led the way, both hitting triples of their own.
Schumacher and Turner also hit doubles as game one resulted in a 6-2 win over the Zips.
Buffenbarger pitched six innings, only allowing those two runs.
Game two saw the Penguins fall short during their homestand.
Eight runs on 14 hits for the Zips handed the Penguins their first loss at home this season. Turner, Truran and Schumacher each had one RBI.
Their effort was not enough to match the Zips offense as the 8-4 loss has the Penguins sitting at 13-10 overall.
Next up, the Penguins will be on the road to face the University of Illinois Chicago for a three-game series against the Flames starting tonight. A recap of all of these games will be posted on ysusports.com