Milwaukee -- The Youngstown State baseball team got a strong start from Russ Harless but dropped both games of a doubleheader at Milwaukee, 3-2 and 8-1, on Saturday afternoon at Henry Aaron Field.
In game one, Harless had a gem go unrewarded as the freshman right-hander was charged with a hard-luck loss. All three of Milwaukee's runs scored in the first inning, and two of those were unearned. Harless did not allow a hit after the second inning, but the Penguins couldn't muster up enough offense to support him off Milwaukee starter Eric Semmelhack.
Semmelhack struck out 11 batters, including six who looked at strike three. He allowed a lead off home run to Drew Dosch to start the game, and YSU's only other run came when David Leon singled in Marcus Heath in the fourth. Dosch finished with three of YSU's seven hits, but he had two costly errors in the bottom of the first that led to two of Milwaukee's three runs.
YSU's best chance to tie the score came in the fifth when Padraic Williams walked and Dosch doubled with one out. Semmelhack struck out Jason Shirley, walked Jeremy Banks intentionally and got Marcus Heath to ground out to end the threat. YSU stranded one runner in both the sixth and eighth innings and left two on in the ninth.
Harless went the distance for the Penguins, allowing just four hits and two walks while striking out seven. Semmelhack allowed two runs on five hits and five walks in eight innings to improve to 3-5. Jordan Guth allowed two hits in the ninth but recorded his third save.
In game two, the Panthers scored seven runs in the first three innings off starter Ryan Krokos en route to their 8-1 victory. Paul Hoenecke hit a two-run homer as part of a three-run first, and the Panthers added three runs on four hits in the second. Tell Taylor's RBI single in the third made the score 7-0.
Leon singled in Heath in the fourth for YSU's only run of the contest, and Mark Strey brought in Hoenecke with a sacrifice fly in the seventh for the final tally.Hoenecke had three of Milwaukee's 12 hits in the game while Leon had two of YSU's seven.
UWM starter Cale Tassi allowed one unearned run on six hits while striking out 10 in seven innings to earn his third win. Krokos allowed six earned runs on eight hits in three innings in his first career conference start.
The Penguins and Panthers will play the series finale on Sunday at 1 p.m. Eastern.