The Youngstown State baseball team dug itself a four-run deficit and left a runner in scoring position in each of the final three innings in a 5-4 loss to Akron on Wednesday at Eastwood Field.
YSU leadoff batter Mike Accardi reached base four times and had an RBI in the seventh inning that accounted for the final run of the game. David Saluga and Josh White also had two hits, and Jason Shirley drove in two runs for YSU, which was playing its home opener.
Jared Turocy hit a two-run home run for Akron in the second, and his sacrifice fly in the third put the Zips ahead 4-0.
Akron starter Michael Steensen held YSU to one hit through the first four innings, and he allowed just one hit in the Penguins' two-run fifth. Saluga singled for the second time in the game to start the inning, and he went to second on a wild pitch with one out. Craig Goubeaux was hit by a pitch, and both Saluga and he advanced on a balk. Saluga came in to score on Shirley's grounder to the left of shortstop, but Goubeaux was thrown out at third trying to advance. Shirley stole second and came in to score on a throwing error.
A balk helped Akron score the eventual winning run in the sixth. Kris Simonton singled up the middle with one out and went to second on Erik Okleson's balk. Billy Salem then followed with a single to center to bring in Simonton, and Okleson got a foul out and ground out to end the inning.
Back-to-back pinch-hit singles by Nick DiNello and White put runners at the corners with one out in the seventh for YSU, and Shirley's RBI single brought in DiNello to make the score 5-3. Shirley, though, wsa picked off at first by catcher Derek Carmichael, and Accardi brought in White with a two-out single to center.
Youngstown State reliever Patrick O'Brien struck out the side in the eighth to keep the momentum with the home team, and Drew Dosch drew a leadoff walk in the bottom half. He went to second on a balk, but he wasn't able to advance on Marcus Heath's slow grounder to third. Dosch did advance on a wild pitch, but Phil Lipari and Saluga were both called out on strikes to end the inning.
White hit a one-out single in the bottom of the ninth, and, following Shirley's fielder's choice, Accardi singled to put runners at the corners. Akron closer Samuel Trecaso got Neil Schroth to ground into a fielder's choice to preserve the win.
YSU starter Pat Shedlock was charged with four runs on three hits and three walks in two innings. Steensen earned the win for Akron, holding YSU to one earned run on two hits in five innings.
The Penguins will remain home for a three-game series against Horizon League-leading Milwaukee this weekend. Game one of the series will be Friday at 3 p.m.