Canisius scored three two-out runs in the top of the fifth inning and held off the Youngstown State baseball team in a 5-3 victory at Eastwood Field on Tuesday afternoon. The game was attended by more than 2,000 Youngstown area school students and members of senior citizen and physical rehabilitation centers.
The Golden Griffins improved to 38-13 with the victory, and four of their 10 hits came in the fifth.
An RBI groundout by Nick DiNello and an RBI double by Neil Schroth in the bottom of the fourth allowed YSU to tie the score at 2-2. On a day where YSU used six pitchers by design, Erik Okleson came in and retired the first two batters in the top of the fifth on ground outs. No. 5 batter Jesse Puscheck doubled to right center on the ninth pitch of his at bat to kick-start Canisius, and the next four Golden Griffins reached base. Shane Zimmer singled in Puscheck, and, following a walk to Jesse Kelso, Jose Torralba and Anthony Massicci hit RBI singles to right as Canisius built a 5-2 lead.
After Kevin Hix was thrown out at second trying to stretch a single to start the bottom of the fifth, the Penguins got within two with a two-out rally. Devin Higgins battled for a walk, and Drew Dosch and Josh White followed with opposite-field singles to plate the run.
The Penguins lined into a double play in the sixth, and they stranded a runner in the seventh and two in the ninth.
Puscheck led off the second with a homer to right for the first run of the game, and he singled in Jimmy Luppens with one out in the third. Puscheck had game highs with three hits, two runs and two RBIs.
Dosch, White and Hix all had two hits apiece for the Penguins.
Okleson was tagged with the loss, and Canisius starter Rohn Pierce allowed three runs on eight hits in six-plus innings in a winning effort. Three Golden Griffins relievers combined to pitch three hitless innings.
Youngstown State will conclude the regular season with a three-game series at Valparaiso that starts Thursday at 2 p.m.