Niles, Ohio -- The Youngstown State baseball team got six strong innings from starter Blake Aquadro, but Akron also got strong pitching and a six-run ninth inning to beat the Penguins 9-2 on Wednesday afternoon at Eastwood Field.
The Penguins tied the score at 1-1 and 2-2 after five innings, but the Zips went ahead 3-2 in the sixth before blowing the game open in the ninth. The contest was a special Kids Day in conjunction with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers and Akron Children's Hospital Mahoning Valley.
Aquadro allowed three runs on eight hits in six strong innings, but the offense couldn't keep up with his performance. Akron starter Jon Pusateri allowed just two runs on four hits and three walks in his five innings to earn the victory.
In a rain-filled season where 13 games were cancelled, postponed or shortened, today's game was a fitting end to YSU's home season. The game was delayed by an hour due to a downpour in the morning, and it was called with a runner on first and nobody out in the bottom of the ninth. It was delayed initially in the ninth due to lightning and called shortly after when the skies opened again with rain.
Akron got the scoring going in the top of the first when Matt Corpora doubled and Sam Watkins singled to put runners at the corners with one out. Corpora scored when Aquadro's pickoff throw to first sailed wide.
Aquadro held the Zips to two hits over the next three innings, and YSU tied the score at 1-1 in the fourth. Joe Iacobucci walked, Greg Dissinger singled and Craig Goubeaux was hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out off Pusateri. Iacobucci was thrown out at the plate on a failed safety squeeze, but Dan Hurlimann drew a walk to force in a run.
Both teams scored in the fifth to keep the game tied. Dan Burant singled, and, after moving to third on Tyler Begun's double, scored on Corpora's sacrifice fly to right. For YSU, Padraic Williams drew a one-out walk and scored on Jeremy Banks' double to right center.
Akron got a one-out RBI single from James Sheltrown in the sixth to go up 3-2, and YSU missed on a chance to tie the score in the bottom half. The Penguins had runners at first and third with one out, but Armani Johnson lined out to short, and Hurlimann was doubled up at first base.
Neither team had a runner in scoring position in the next two innings before Akron's six-run ninth. Sheltrown led off with a double, and Jared Turocy legged out an infield hit to put runners at the corners. Kevin McCulloh came in to relieve Cody Dearth and, after getting the first hitter to pop out, threw a wild pitch and gave up three straight hits. Watkins had the big hit of the game with a three-run homer that brought in Begun and Corpora. Kurt Gamby added a solo homer off Erik Okleson.
Pinch-hitter David Leon singled to start the bottom of the ninth, and Johnson was getting ready to take the batter's box when the umpires spotted lightning.
Six different Zips had two hits, and Akron had 14 as a team. Hurlimann had two of YSU's seven hits.
Youngstown State will wrap up the regular season with a three-game series at UIC. Game one of the set is scheduled for Thursday at 7:05 p.m. Eastern, and the teams will play a doubleheader on Friday starting at 1:05 p.m. Eastern.