YSU ROUNDUP | News and notes

Football: Seven home games, three first-time foes and two other rare opponents highlight YSU's football schedule. Ohio State, Stony Brook, and Southern Utah are first-ever opponents. The Penguins also play Lock Haven for just the third time and South Dakota State for the first time since the 1979 Division II playoffs. The Gateway slate features home games against Missouri State, Illinois State and Western Illinois while the road tilts are against Southern Illinois, Northern Iowa and Indiana State. The seven regular-season home contests are the most since 2003. It marks the 19th consecutive season in which the program will play at least six home games. Youngstown State opens the campaign on Sept. 1 at Ohio State. It is the first time since 1995 that the Penguins will open with a contest on the road. That was also the last time YSU lost a season opener and will take an 11-game season-opening victory streak into the contest. Following the tilt with the Buckeyes, YSU plays four consecutive regular-season home games for the first time since 1993. The home opener is against South Dakota State on Sept. 8. YSU will play at SDSU in 2008 as part of a home-and-home agreement. Sept. 15, the Penguins will play host to Stony Brook, followed by Division II's Lock Haven (Sept. 22). The Bald Eagles are coached by former long-time Penguin assistant coach John Klacik. Youngstown State beat Lock Haven 38-7 in Coach Jon Heacock's debut to open the 2001 campaign. YSU plays Missouri State on Sept. 29, then plays on the road at Southern Illinois on Oct. 6. Sandwiched in the Gateway schedule is a first-ever meeting with Southern Utah on Oct. 13. SUU was added to the schedule replacing the vacancy filled when Western Kentucky voted to leave the Gateway following the season. The Penguins will play host to Illinois State in the annual Homecoming Game on Oct. 20. YSU then hits the road for two straight: at Northern Iowa on Oct. 27 and at Indiana State on Nov. 3. The Guins conclude the regular season at Stambaugh Stadium against Western Illinois on Nov. 10.
Indoor track and field: Sophomore Aaron Merrill was named the Horizon League Indoor Track and Field Athlete of the Week after a record-setting weekend. Merrill broke the school record in the shot put with a winning mark of 54-1 1/2 Friday evening at the Baldwin Wallace Mid-January Meet. He is the second YSU thrower in as many weeks to gain the league's weekly recognition. The Leetonia native currently tops the Horizon League performance charts in the shot put. The record he broke was Jarrod Davis' winning throw at the 2006 Horizon League Championship. Merrill also posted a personal-best distance in the weight throw at the meet. Merrill and the Penguins will compete at the Penn State National Open today and Saturday.
Baseball: YSU was picked to finish third in the Horizon League this season by Baseball America in its college baseball preview edition. YSU junior catcher/designated hitter Erich Diedrich, a First-Team All-Horizon League selection last year, was also recognized as a preseason all-conference pick. The Penguins, who finished in fourth place in the league last season with a 16-13 mark, will have 17 newcomers and three redshirt freshmen on the 2007 roster. Diedrich is coming off of a breakout season in which he was one of the top offensive threats in the Horizon League. Last season he hit .357 with nine home runs and a school-record 58 RBIs. He ranked second in the league in RBIs and finished in the top 10 in average, hits, slugging percentage, on base percentage, home runs, total bases and walks. Regular-season champion UIC was picked to defend its title while tournament champion Wright State was slated to finish second.
Vindicator Staff Report

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