Youngstown State University Baseball Camps
Josh Merrigan | Assistant Baseball Coach
Josh Merrigan is in his first season as pitching coach for the Youngstown State baseball program.
"We are very excited to add Josh to our staff," Bertolini said. "His experiences as both a player and a coach make him a great fit. He has a wealth of knowledge, and his ability to prepare pitchers will lead to big-time success with our staff."
Merrigan comes to Youngstown having served as the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa, during the 2016 season. The Mustangs had a 44-16 record, and the pitching staff was a big contributor with 423 strikeouts, the ninth-most in the NAIA. Individually, closer Lance Spongberg ranked 18th in the country with eight saves.
Prior to his appointment at Morningside, Merrigan was the recruiting coordinator and assistant coach at Highland Community College (Highland, Kan.) in 2015. He served in the same capacity at Wayne State College (Wayne, Neb.) in 2014.
Before entering the college ranks, Merrigan served as an Associate Scout for the Tampa Bay Rays from 2008-13.
Merrigan guided several teams to state tournament appearances while coaching legion teams in South Dakota. His 2007 Sioux Falls Post 15 West team won South Dakota's "A" American Legion championship and finished third in the American Legion Central Plains Regional.
Merrigan was drafted three separate times in his playing career and pitched two seasons in the St. Louis Cardinals organization from 2001-02. He was drafted for the first time in the 18th round of the 1997 MLB Draft out of Vermillion High School in South Dakota by the Montreal Expos. The Expos selected him again a year later in the 33rd round, and the Cardinals drafted him in the 17th round in 2001.
In 2001, he pitched for the New Jersey Cardinals in the New York-Penn League, which is the same league that the Youngstown-area Mahoning Valley Scrappers play in. Merrigan went on to pitch two seasons in the Northern League for the Sioux Falls Canaries and the Sioux City Explorers in 2003 and 2004. He was selected as a Northern League All-Star in 2003.
As a collegian, Merrigan pitched two seasons at Butler Community College where he posted a two-year record on the mound of 10-4 and earned all-conference honors. He went on to pitch as a junior and senior at Oklahoma State and was named Second-Team All-Big 12 in both seasons. He had a 16-6 record in his two seasons in Stillwater.
Merrigan earned his bachelor's degree in sociology from Oklahoma State. He has a son named J.D.
Eric Smith | Assistant Baseball Coach & Recruiting Coordinator
Eric Smith has joined the Youngstown State baseball program as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator, head coach Dan Bertolini announced on Friday.
Smith was an assistant coach at Eastern Kentucky in 2016, and he has five additional years of experience coaching at the Division I level. He has coached 19 players who have gone on to play professional baseball and one player who has reached the Major Leagues.
"Eric's energy and passion for the game made it an easy fit for our program," Bertolini said. "He will work primarily with our outfielders and catchers and assist in hitting. We are very excited to have Eric on our staff."
With Smith on the staff last year, Eastern Kentucky hit 66 home runs and batted .290 as a team. Mandy Alvarez led the nation in hits per game and was named the Co-Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year. Kyle Nowlin, a First-Team All-OVC selection, tied for second among the country's leaders with 21 home runs. Alvarez was a 17th-round draft pick by the New York Yankees, and Nowlin was a 21st-round selection by the Oakland Athletics.
EKU beat two SEC teams for the first time in program history in Smith's season on staff, beating No. 13 Missisippi State and No. 28 Kentucky.
In addition to working with EKU's hitters, Smith directed the Colonels' camps and community service outreach program.
Smith spent the 2013-15 seasons as an assistant coach at Division II Philadelphia University as the program's recruiting coordinator and assistant coach. During his first season, the Rams reached the playoffs for the first time in six years.
In 2011 and 2012, Smith was an assistant coach and camp director at La Salle. The Explorers were the Big 5 Team of the Year in 2011 with a 28-26 record.
Smith got his start in coaching at his alma mater, Mount St. Mary's, during the 2008-10 seasons. He served as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for the Mountaineers and helped the 2008 squad make the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history and play No. 1 North Carolina. Mount St. Mary's was also strong academically with Smith on the staff, ranking in the top 10 percent in the country in team GPA.
Smith was one of Mount St. Mary's all-time best hitters. He ended his career as the all-time leader in hits (198), runs (127), RBIs (139) and total bases (304), and he still holds the career record for times being hit by a pitch (33). A three-time second-team All-NEC selection, he batted .341 over his four-year career.
Smith graduated from Mount St. Mary's in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in business. He and his fiance, Amanda, live in Akron.
Ryan Krokos | Volunteer Assistant Coach
Former Youngstown State pitcher Ryan Krokos is in his second season as a volunteer assistant coach for his alma mater. He was assigned additional duties as the program's camp coordinator in 2016.
Krokos was a member of the Penguins pitching staff from 2011-15. A right-hander from Brecksville, Ohio, he redshirted in 2011 before pitching in both the rotation and the bullpen in his career. His best season was his senior year when he led the team with 27 appearances and set career highs with three wins, two saves and a 4.32 ERA.
Krokos' Year-By-Year Pitching Summary
2015 (Senior) | Game-By-Game Stats: Pitched in a team-high 27 games out of the bullpen... Tied for the team lead with three wins and added two saves... Posted a 4.32 ERA in 50 innings while striking out 27 batters and walking 22... His 27 appearances tied for the sixth most for a single season in school history, and the 73 appearances in his career tied for the eighth most in program history... Pitched in 15 Horizon League games and had a 6.75 ERA... Posted a 1.54 ERA in 12 non-conference contests... Went more than an inning in 21 of his 27 appearances... Earned the win at Radford when he did not allow a run in 2.1 innings (3/10)... His second victory came when he pitched two shutout innings at Bowling Green (3/18)... Also earned a road win at Akron when he allowed two runs in three innings (3/24)... Recorded his first save against Oakland when he tossed 2.1 shutout innings (4/2)... His other save came against Wright State when he allowed one run in three innings (4/25)... Pitched 3.2 innings twice, including in a scoreless outing against Ohio (4/14)... Struck out a season-best four batters at Valparaiso (3/21).
2014 (Junior) | Game-By-Game Stats: Pitched in 13 games, 11 of which he started... Ranked second on the team in starts behind Patrick O'Brien... Finished with an 0-5 record and a 9.32 ERA over 37.2 innings, and YSU was 4-7 in his starts... Had a 6.06 ERA in four starts in Horizon League play... Started for the Penguins in the Horizon League Championship game and pitched 4.1 innings against Wright State... Scattered eight hits and surrendered just two runs, both earned, before exiting in the bottom of the fifth inning... Also started YSU's final game of the season in the NCAA Tournament against Stanford (June 1)... Pitched a season-long five innings three times – at Canisius (April 23), vs. UIC (May 10) and vs. Valparaiso (May 16)... Did not allow a run in the five-inning start against UIC in a game that YSU won 2-1 but did not factor in the decision... Struck out two batters three times... Allowed one earned run in his two innings of relief.
2013 (Sophomore) | Game-By-Game Stats: Made five starts and three relief appearances before missing the final month-and-a-half with an injury... Was 1-5 with an 8.10 ERA in 26.2 innings... Allowed 25 runs, 24 of which were earned, on 38 hits and eight walks... Struck out six batters, and opponents hit .342 against him... Did not allow a home run... Earned the win in relief against Milwaukee, holding the Panthers scoreless over 1.1 innings... Made his first start at Wake Forest, allowing three runs on five hits and four walks in four innings (2/22)... His best start came at Charlotte when he surrendered one run on two hits in six innings in a no decision (3/3)... Allowed three runs in five innings against Manhattan (3/10).
2012 (Redshirt-Freshman) | Game-By-Game Stats: Pitched in 25 games, four of which he started... His 25 appearances ranked second on the team to junior Kevin McCulloh... Was 2-4 with a 7.74 ERA in 50 innings... Struck out 31 batters and walked 26... Was 1-2 with a 7.07 ERA in 13 appearances against Horizon League opponents... Earned the win in relief against Milwaukee on March 18 as YSU won 4-3 in 11 innings... Also earned the win against Akron in his first start, holding the Zips scoreless on three hits and no walks in five innings on March 27... Did not allow a run in three innings against Canisius in his collegiate debut (2/17)... Did not surrender a run in a 10-inning span from March 13 through March 27.... Did not allow a run in 4.2 innings of relief against Valparaiso (4/14)... Earned a start in the next three conference series.
High School: Ranked 38th on The Buckeye Scout's Top 100 List... Went 6-1 on the mound during his high school career... Struck out 48 batters as a senior while posting a 4.20 ERA... Played in the Greater Cleveland All-Star Game... Earned second-team all-conference honors... helped lead Brecksville Broadview Heights to the regional semifinals as a junior... Team went 23-5 his senior year... School won three Southwest Conference Titles during his varsity career.