Baseball Responds to Sweep Doubleheader in Walk-Off Fashion

YSU vs. Butler
YSU vs. Butler

Niles, Ohio -- A day after the Youngstown State baseball team was beaten 15-1, a pair of Phil's helped the Penguins respond with a doubleheader sweep of Butler on Saturday afternoon and win the series.

Starting pitcher Phil Klein won his fourth straight start in game one of the double dip and led YSU to a 5-1 victory. Phil Lipari's walk-off single in the ninth capped a series of late heroics in game two as YSU won 4-3.

The pair of wins improved YSU's Horizon League record to 3-3, and Butler dropped to 4-5 with the pair of defeats.

"I'm happy for our guys because we showed a lot of character to come back and win two today after how we lost last night," YSU head coach Rich Pasquale said. "It was a long day mentally and physically, and for us to win in the last at bat was awesome."

After Klein allowed one unearned run on four hits in seven innings in game one, the Penguins had to rally from a three-run deficit in game two.

Butler scored all three of its runs in the fourth inning off starter Robert Switka, but he limited the damage and went on to pitch seven scoreless innings.

The Bulldogs started the fourth with two singles and an RBI double from Pat Gelwicks to break the scoreless tie. Walks to Mike Hoscheit and Corey Moylan resulted in another run, and Butler's final tally came when Switka induced a big double play grounder. The sophomore righty was able to get out of the inning with a fly out to center with his team down just 3-0.

The Penguins manufactured a run in the fifth to cut into the margin. David Leon led off with a single and advanced to second on Padraic Williams' sacrifice bunt. Leon then went to third on a wild pitch and scored on Joe Iacobucci's ground out.

YSU added another run in the eighth when Lipari scored on Armani Johnson's fielder's choice. Lipari went from first to third a batter earlier on a pinch-hit single by Jonathan Crist with one out.

Bill Turosky and Kevin McCulloh combined for two scoreless innings out of the bullpen, and the Penguins came through in the ninth.

Iacobucci started the rally with a hard shot up the middle that caromed off the pitcher, and Jeremy Banks battled from being down 1-2 in the count to rip a 3-2 pitch into center that put runners on the corners. Banks stole second with the infield drawn in, and Dan Hurlimann followed with a pinch-hit double to deep right. Iacobucci scored, but Banks was thrown out at the plate as he had to wait at second base to see if the ball would be caught. Chris Mitko flied out to center to advance Hurlimann to third, and Lipari followed with the run-scoring single down the right-field line to plate Hurlimann, complete the rally and start a celebration in the infield.

Lipari had a game-high three hits, and four of his teammates added two hits apiece.

Switka allowed three runs on six hits and two walks over seven innings. McCulloh was credited with the win after coming in with runners on first and second on and nobody out in the top of the ninth. A force out at second put runners at the corners, and Marco Carponi was thrown out at the plate trying to execute a double steal for the second out. A ground out to Banks at first ended the inning.

"Switka battled out of that fourth inning, and it was huge that he was able to keep it to three runs," Pasquale said. "It was also huge that he was able to give us three more innings."

Klein retired the first nine batters in the opener, and Youngstown State scored two runs in the bottom of the first to give the senior righty all the support he would need.

Butler cut the margin to 2-1 with the help of a passed ball in the fourth, and Klein was able to work out of a jam in the seventh to help the Guins stay ahead. Butler had runners at the corners with one out, but Zach Sizemore whiffed on a bunt with the squeeze play on. Hoscheit was retired after a rundown, and Klein struck out Sizemore to end the inning.

Iacobucci came home after an error in the bottom of the seventh, and the Penguins tacked on two more runs in the eighth on RBI singles from Craig Goubeaux and Williams.

"Klein is putting us on his back, and we're going with him," Pasquale said. "He located his fastball tremendously well, and he was dominant for us again against a team that had 18 hits last night."

Klein struck out 10 batters in his seven innings. He became the seventh player in school history to strike out at least 200 batters over a career.

McCulloh did not allow a hit in two innings of relief to earn his first save of the season.

Iacobucci and Neil Schroth had three hits apiece in the opener as YSU outhit Butler 14-4. The Penguins had 28 hits to Butler's 12 on the afternoon.

YSU will play Kent State on Tuesday and Wednesday next week. Tuesday's game will be in Kent, Ohio, and Wednesday's contest will be at Eastwood Field. Both games are scheduled to start at 3 p.m.