Niles -- The Youngstown State baseball team rode a strong pitching performance by Robert Switka to a 6-3 win over Cleveland State in the opener and then Armani Johnson's bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the ninth lifted YSU to a 3-2 game two win at Eastwood Field.
In game one, Switka (2-5) pitched seven strong innings scattering four hits while striking out eight. In game two, senior Phil Klein battled for 6.1 innings to keep the Penguins in the contest. Kevin McCulloh (3-6) finished both games up. In game one, he tossed two innings of one-hit relief. In the second game, he went 2.2 innings working around three hits to pick up the win.
Youngstown State (10-27 overall and 5-6 in the Horizon League) trailed 2-0 in game two after the first inning. Cleveland State picked up its first run when Alex Gnezda singled home John Calhoun and Matt Kirkwood plated Zach Thompson.
In game two, CSU had 11 hits, while the Guins had two. YSU was hitless for 5.2 innings before a single by Drew Dosch broke up the no-hit bid by Viking starter Cody Bates.
The Guins scored two runs in the third tying the contest. Phil Lipari opened the inning with a walk and Padraic Williams was hit by a pitch. Lipari came around to score when Johnson reached on a two-base error by CSU third baseman John Calhoun. Williams came home on a sacrifice fly by David Leon.
McCulloh worked out of a jam in the eighth. CSU loaded the bases with no outs but a failed squeeze attempt and two ground outs to shortstop kept the Vikes off the board.
In the bottom of the ninth, Dosch walked to lead off the inning. Craig Goubeaux sacrficed him to second and then YSU caught a break. Lipari hit a comebacker to the mound, but CSU pitcher Brandon Cooper threw the ball to third and Dosch held at second. Williams walked to load the bases and after sidearmer Clayton Ruch entered the game, Johnson plated the game winner when he walked on five pitches.
In the opener, Switka cruised pitching seven scoreless innings. YSU had a run in the second, one in the third, two in the fifth and two in the sixth. CSU broke through scoring three runs off reliever Cody Dearth, however McCulloh righted the ship as the Penguins held on.
Leon and Goubeaux had two each in the first game. CSU outhit the Penguins 18-11 in the doubleheader, but dropped both games. The Vikings committed three errors in the first game, including two on one play that allowed two Penguins to score.
The Penguins and Vikings conclude the series on Sunday at 3 p.m.