Softball win streak hits 11 games

YSU softball outfielder makes a play to an infielder during the 2022-23 season. Photo by Dylan Lux / The Jambar

By Dylan Lux / The Jambar

After a March 13 matchup against Kent State University on the road, the Youngstown State University softball team held an 11-10 overall record. The team is currently 22-10 with an 11-game winning streak.

The streak began March 16 with a doubleheader win over the University of Detroit Mercy, followed by a victory over the Titans the following day.

With a three-game win streak, the team traveled to Fort Wayne, Indiana for a matchup with Purdue University Fort Wayne on March 22 and 23. In a three-game series against the Mastodons, Youngstown State prevailed with a sweep of PFW.

A trip to New York on March 27 was next for the ’Guins with a doubleheader against St. Bonaventure University.

The Penguins scored a combined 23 runs in the two games, only allowing seven from the Bonnies. The two victories extended YSU’s win streak to eight games.

Senior Hailey Niederkohr said hitting was a focal point of the team in the offseason, which has helped lead the Penguins to a league-best .298 hitting percentage.

“We work a lot on our hitting, to be dominant [and] to be aggressive,” Niederkohr said. “We work really hard on our movements and to hit the ball with solid contact.”

Youngstown State’s most recent matchup wrapped up March with a three-game series against the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay at home March 29 and 31.

The Phoenix played the Penguins close in game one, as they scored a run in the top of the sixth inning, making the score 6-5 with YSU leading.

Green Bay held Youngstown State scoreless in the bottom of the sixth, but YSU held on to the win after allowing no runs in the top of the seventh.

Game two saw multiple four-run innings for the Penguins, as they only allowed three runs for the Phoenix, leading to a 9-3 ’Guins victory.

In game three, senior Sophie Howell pitched a shutout for the third time this season with a 7-0 win, sweeping another Horizon League opponent.

The Penguins now sit with a 9-0 record in the conference, two games ahead of No. 2 Northern Kentucky University.

Head coach Brian Campbell said the Horizon League is a competitive conference and YSU must focus on more than statistics.

“Our conference is so comparable … it doesn’t matter who you’re playing, it doesn’t matter what their record [is] when you walk into [a matchup],” Campbell said. “It’s about doing the best you can and understanding that you have to play every pitch and every inning to [your] best.”

Graduate student Sara Fessler prepares for a hit as head coach Brian Campbell looks on. Photo by Dylan Lux / The Jambar

YSU is set to face off against Horizon League opponent Oakland University on April 5 and 6.

As the team prepares for its trip to Rochester, Michigan, Campbell said there’s no change in mindset when heading into a matchup on the road.

“Shouldn’t be any different in my opinion,” Campbell said. “I don’t think there’s any difference on how you approach it. The only difference is on the road you get the bat first and at home you get the bat second.”

Youngstown State holds a 9-3 record on the road this year. Campbell recently passed 650 career wins in March.

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