Phil Lipari had three hits and five RBIs, and the Youngstown State baseball team got an outstanding effort from its bullpen in a 6-2 victory over Milwaukee on Sunday afternoon at Eastwood Field.
The victory gave the Penguins two wins in the three-game series against the league-leading Panthers. YSU is now 5-4 in the Horizon League, which is tied for second with UIC. Milwaukee dropped to 8-4 in conference play.
Lipari was part of all six YSU runs, driving in five and scoring the other. He had a series to remember, going 8-for-10 with four runs scored, seven RBIs and four stolen bases in three games against the Panthers. Mike Accardi and Nick DiNello also had two hits apiece for the Penguins in Sunday's finale.
YSU's Lance Horner allowed two runs on three hits and three walks in 4.2 innings in his first career start before leaving with a blister on his pitching hand. Four Penguins relievers combined for 4.1 shutout innings, with Ryan Krokos earning the win and Nic Manuppelli registering his fifth save.
Mitch Ghelfi and Jonathan Capasso had two hits apiece for Milwaukee.
Ghelfi led off the second with a line-drive homer that just cleared the low wall in right for the first run of the game. YSU countered with two runs in the bottom of the second as Lipari drove in DiNello and Josh White on a single to right. The Panthers then loaded the bases with nobody out in the third, but Horner escaped with just one run coming in. Luke Meeter brought in Will Fadness on a sacrifice fly to right, and Michael Porcaro grounded into a 5-3 double play to end the inning. It was the third double play that the Panthers had hit into in three innings.
YSU stranded two runners in both the fourth and fifth innings, but big hits by Lipari in the sixth and seventh innings ended up being the difference in the game. DiNello led off the sixth with a single to center, and he lucked out when Milwaukee shortstop Alex Erdmann dropped the ball as DiNello was going to be out trying to advance on a ball in the dirt. Lipari followed with an RBI double, and he scored on Jack Graham's fielder's choice later in the inning as YSU went up 4-2.
Milwaukee had two runners on in each of the final three innings but stranded them all.
The Panthers had a chance immediately to cut into the lead in the seventh as Capasso singled and Sam Koenig walked to start the inning. Josh North came in and got Fadness to fly out to deep center on a nice play by Accardi, and he struck out Erdmann and Derek Peake with a runner on third.
Drew Dosch and White had back-to-back infield singles in the seventh and advanced to second and third on a wild pitch. Milwaukee elected to walk DiNello intentionally and bring the infield in for a potential force out at home, but Lipari came through again with a double to deep right-center. Dosch scored easily, and White and DiNello came in with just a step separating them as White had to hold at second to see if the ball would be caught. DiNello was called out for missing the plate on a head-first slide, which took an RBI away from Lipari's total.
Down 6-2 through seven innings, Milwaukee put the first two runners on again in the eighth as Meeter was hit by a pitch and Porcaro singled off North. Manuppelli came in and got back-to-back fly outs to Accardi in center, and the closer struck out Capasso.
Manuppelli gave up a one-out single and couldn't come up with a low one-hopper back to the mound in the ninth. He struck out Peake for the second out, then made up for his error by snagging a hard bouncer hit right back to him by Meeter to end the game.
Panthers starter Mike Schneider suffered the loss, allowing four runs on eight hits and four walks in five innings. Only two of those runs were earned. YSU's two runs in the seventh came off Tyler Thicke.
Youngstown State will wrap up its four-game home stand with a contest against Pittsburgh on Tuesday at 3 p.m.