Penguins Win Twice on Saturday to Complete Series Sweep of Flames

Collin Floyd
Collin Floyd

Collin Floyd struck out 10 batters in game one, and Colin Clark came in to induce a game-ending double play with the bases loaded in the nightcap as the Youngstown State baseball team completed a sweep of UIC on Saturday at Eastwood Field. The Penguins won game one 7-2, and they jumped out to a six-run lead in game two and held on to win 6-5.

Saturday's doubleheader sweep followed a 3-1 YSU victory on Friday. The Penguins have now won six of their last seven games – including four straight – and are tied for first place in the Horizon League standings with a 6-3 conference mark. Youngstown State also earned its first three-game sweep of a Horizon League series since 2012.

Jeff Wehler was 4-for-8 with four RBIs in the doubleheader, and Drew Dickerson had three hits, drove in three runs and scored twice.

Floyd earned his third straight conference victory in Saturday's opener, allowing two unearned runs on four hits and just one walk. His defense committed five errors behind him, which upped his pitch count and forced him to leave after six innings. The Penguins had scored two runs in three straight innings to give him a 7-2 lead when he handed the ball to the bullpen.

Floyd got an early 1-0 lead when Trey Bridis led off with a walk and advanced on a walk to Wehler. Each runner moved up a base on a passed ball before a UIC error on a ground ball hit by Dickerson allowed Bridis to score.

UIC scored the next two runs to go up 2-1. Bowen Ogata reached on a fielding error with one out in the top of the second and Thomas Norton doubled to left center to put runners at second and third. Dylan Gilbert then reached on an error as well, allowing Ogata to score and tie the tie the game at 1-1. In the third, David Becker reached on an error to start the inning and was driven home on a double to right center by Joshua Figueroa.

The Penguins answered right back in the bottom of the third as Blaze Glenn walked with one out and scored on a double to deep center field by Dickerson. Dickerson stole third and scored on sacrifice fly from Andrew Kendrick to put YSU back in front 3-2.

YSU would add to its lead in the bottom of the fourth when Cody Dennis singled, Bridis walked and Zach Lopatka was hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out for Wehler. Wehler ripped a double to left center that plated Dennis and Bridis to increase the lead to 5-2.

Kendrick began the bottom of the fifth with a walk and advanced to third on a ground-rule double down the right field line by Dennis. Lou Cardona followed with a pinch-hit, RBI single to left that scored Kendrick. Lopatka followed with an RBI single of his own to increase the YSU advantage to 7-2.

Dalton Earich tossed two scoreless innings in relief of Floyd, and Austin Butler came on in the ninth.

Floyd struck out 10 batters, just one shy of his career high. He recorded a strikeout in each of his six innings on the mound and fanned at least two batters in three different frames.

Youngstown State jumped out to a 6-0 lead after two innings in game two, but it had to fight late to finish the sweep of the Flames.

In the bottom of the first, Nick Massey and Wehler hit back-to-back one-out doubles for the first run, and the final three runs of the inning all came with two outs. Dickerson singled to right to plate Wehler, and Kendrick followed with a home run into the UIC bullpen in left field.

The Penguins used two-out magic again in the bottom of the second as they extended their lead to 6-0. After Lucas Nasonti doubled and Bridis walked, Wehler's two-out single to left plated Nasonti. Glenn's infield single loaded the bases, and Dickerson walked on four straight pitches to bring in Massey.

UIC started its climb back in the third when Scott Ota hit a two-out, two-run homer. They added a run in the fifth to make the score 6-3, and Alex Dee's leadoff double in the eighth led to another run that cut the margin to 6-4.

In the dramatic ninth, Ogata and Dominic Smith started the inning by walking on full counts to put the tying run on base. They moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt, and Dee was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Riley Hebert then walked to bring in a run, and Clark was called on to get out of the jam. The freshman left-hander got a ground ball up the middle from Ryan Lin-Peistrup, and Dennis fielded it at short, stepped on second and threw on to Wehler at first to end the game.

Lopatka allowed four runs on three hits and two walks over the first four innings. Joel Hake was awarded the win after recording three outs over the fifth and sixth innings, and Clark recorded his first career save.

Youngstown State will host Pitt on Tuesday at 6 p.m.

Baseball 2018 Season Preview
February 6, 2018 Baseball 2018 Season Preview