The Youngstown State softball team will open Horizon League Championship play today against Valparaiso at Illinois-Chicago.
Sixth-seeded YSU (16-25-9-12 Horizon League) and third-seeded Valparaiso (29-24, 11-9) will meet at 2:30 p.m., in the second game of the day. The tournament’s opening game features fourth-seeded Cleveland State against fifth-seeded Wright State at noon.
The YSU-Valparaiso winner will face second-seeded Loyola at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, while the loser will play Thursday at 5 p.m. Youngstown State owns a Horizon League Tournament record of 8-16 since joining the league in 2002.
The Penguins, who snapped a seven-game tournament losing streak last season, went 1-2 in the 2012 tournament. The last time YSU won a tournament title was in 2006 when it won the tournament crown with four straight victories. The Penguins picked up two tournament wins in 2003 and one in 2002.
The Penguins and Crusaders will be playing for the fourth straight time when they square off in the tournament. The teams closed out the regular season with a three-game series at Valparaiso last weekend. The Crusaders won the first two games, 3-0, and, 6-5, in 14 innings on Saturday.
Junior Casey Crozier, who pitched 13 2/3 innings in the 6-5 loss, picked up her 13th victory of the season in a 3-2 11-inning victory over the Crusaders on Sunday.