Baseball Drops Two in Day One of Panther Classic

David Saluga
David Saluga

Youngstown State dropped a pair of games on the first day of the Pittsburgh Panther Classic, losing 7-5 to Manhattan and 9-2 to Pitt.

Phil Lipari had three hits in the game against Manhattan and four on the afternoon, and Nick DiNello was 3-for-4 versus the Jaspers. Marcus Heath also had three hits and drove in two runs.

The Penguins held leads of 1-0 and 4-3 in the morning contest against Manhattan, and they outhit the Jaspers 13-10 in the 7-5 loss. Manhattan's Kyle Murphy hit two home runs, a two-run shot in the fourth and a solo homer in the sixth that tied the score at 4-4.

David Saluga hit his first career homer for YSU in the second to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead on the Jaspers, Murphy's two-run homer in the fourth put Manhattan up 2-1. The Jaspers added a run in the fifth to take a 3-1 advantage.

Heath, Josh White and DiNello all had run-scoring hits in the top of the sixth as the Penguins reclaimed the lead at 4-3, but the Jaspers answered with three runs in the bottom half to go up 6-4. Drew Dosch doubled and scored on Heath's sacrifice fly in the seventh to cut the margin to one, and Manhattan added an unearned run in the eighth for the final tally.

YSU threatened in the ninth as Lipari and Heath singled to put runners at first and second with one out, but Jacob Marchus got a ground out and a fly out to earn his first save. The Penguins left 10 runners on base in the contest.

YSU starter Patrick O'Brien allowed six runs on eight hits while striking out a season-high seven in 5.2 innings of work. Erik Okleson did not allow a run in 1.1 innings, and Josh North was charged with an unearned run in the eighth. John Soldinger allowed four runs on seven hits in six innings in a winning effort for Manhattan.

In YSU's second game of the day against Pitt, Blake Aquadro allowed five runs in the first inning but shut down the Panthers over the next five innings. That allowed the Penguins to cut the score to 5-2, but Pitt added four runs in the eighth for the seven-run victory.

Aquadro retired the first two batters in the first inning, but he hit Casey Roche with a 2-2 pitch and walked Steven Shelinsky Jr. to set the table. Sam Parente followed with a two-run triple, Elvin Soto hit a two-run double two batters later, and an error led to the fifth run.

Lipari doubled and scored on Dosch's single in the fourth, and the Penguins cut the deficit to three when Kris Moules and Dan Popio hit back-to-back doubles in the seventh. Pitt's runs in the eighth came on a two-run homer by Roche and a two-run single by Soto.

Aquadro was charged with four earned runs on six hits in six innings, and Russ Harless followed with a scoreless inning. Nic Manuppelli allowed the four runs in the eighth, only two of which were earned, and Alex Frey came in to get the final two outs in the eighth. Ethan Mildren allowed two runs on six hits and struck out six in eight innings for Pitt.

The Penguins will play both teams again on Sunday at Pitt's Charles L. Cost Field. They'll play Manhattan at 10:30 a.m. and Pittsburgh at 4:30 p.m.