YSU Evens Series Behind O'Brien, Seven-Run Seventh

Patrick O'Brien | Photo by Ron Stevens
Patrick O'Brien | Photo by Ron Stevens

Starting pitcher Patrick O'Brien gave Youngstown State seven strong innings, and the Penguins scored 12 straight runs to beat UIC 12-7 on Saturday afternoon at Eastwood Field.

O'Brien gave up three runs on four hits in the third inning, but he held the Flames scoreless on two hits in his other six frames. The Penguins gave him a 5-3 lead after six innings and made sure he got the victory by posting seven runs in the seventh.

YSU's victory evened the three-game series at one win apiece, setting up the rubber match on Sunday at 12:10 p.m. The teams are tied for second place in the Horizon League standings with a conference record of 7-7. The pre-game show on 1390 WNIO will begin at noon.

Drew Dosch was 4-for-5 with three runs scored, and Marcus Heath had a three-run double in the seventh. Josh White, Phil Lipari and Jason Shirley all had two hits apiece.

O'Brien and his UIC counterpart, Joey Begel, did not allow a hit in the first two innings, but the Flame struck for three runs in the third. Jacob McNamara singled to start the inning and went to second on a sacrifice bunt. Leadoff batter John Coen singled him in, and Andres Ortegano and Tyler Detmer followed with run-scoring hits.

The Penguins cut into the lead by scoring twice in the fourth as Neil Schroth came in on a wild pitch and throwing error, and Dosch scored on White's sacrifice fly. Nick DiNello tied the game with a sacrifice fly in the sixth, and White scored the go-ahead tally when he and Lipari executed a double steal. Shirley then brought in Lipari to put the Penguins up 5-3.

YSU loaded the bases with one out in the seventh, and White started the scoring with an RBI single to center that brought in Mike Accardi. Schroth then scored on a throwing error by the shortstop on Lipari's grounder, and DiNello's single to left scored Dosch to put YSU up 8-3. White was forced out at home on Shirley's fielder's choice for the second out, but Heath followed by clearing the bases with a double to right center. The seventh run of the inning came on another throwing error.

Joe Betcher hit a three-run triple as part of UIC's four-run eighth, but Alex Frey came on to get the final two outs and keep the Flames from getting any closer. Erik Okleson retired the Flames in order in the ninth.

O'Brien picked up his third win, adding four strikeouts and three walks to his totals. He worked around a leadoff double in the fifth, and the only other hit he allowed aside from the four hits in the third was a two-out single in the seventh. Begel was charged with five runs on seven hits in 5.2 innings in dropping to 2-4.