Penguins Can't Keep Lead in 5-4 Setback Against Butler
Indianapolis -- Butler overcame a late two-run deficit and scored the winning run in the bottom of the ninth in a 5-4 victory over Youngstown State in the Horizon League opener for both teams Friday.
Butler led 2-1 before the Penguins (3-10, 0-1 Horizon League) tied it in the sixth and took a 4-2 lead in the seventh. The Bulldogs (2-10, 1-0) answered by scoring one run in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings to pick up the win.
Sean Lucas, John Koehnlein and C.J. Morris had two hits apiece for the Penguins. Starter Lucas Engle had his best outing of the year, allowing two runs on two hits and one walk while striking out six in 5.1 innings.
The Penguins outhit the Bulldogs 10-5, but the YSU pitching staff walked six more batters than Butler. YSU has outhit its opponents in the last five games but has managed to win just two of those five.
"It's a matter of getting hits when they don't matter as much and not getting them when we could break the game open," coach Rich Pasquale said. "Today, it was good that we battled back and had the bullpen set up the way we wanted to. We let the first guy get on too much and didn't pitch well with the lead. We have to make some adjustments there, and we need to do that quickly within the next 24 hours."
After Josh Page was thrown out at the plate to end the first inning, the Penguins got on the board in the second when Koehnlein singled and scored on Morris' double.
Butler's Ryan Neat homered in the bottom of the second to tie the score, and Rick Betsch scored in the third on a double steal with two outs.
Neither team scored until the sixth when Lucas tied the score with an RBI double that plated Joe Iacobucci.
David Leon broke the 2-2 tie in the seventh when he singled home Morris from third, and Leon scored an unearned run when Iacobucci grounded into a fielder's choice with the bases loaded.
Ryan Wackerman walked the first two batters in the seventh, and Kevin Rotherham scored later on a fielding error. Hart then knocked in McLaughlin with a two-out double in the eight.
In the ninth, Jason Jamerson drew a leadoff walk and Betsch reached on an error. Joe Pauley walked to load the bases, and Grant Fillipitch came up with an RBI single to right with the game-winner.
The Penguins and Bulldogs will play a doubleheader tomorrow starting at noon.