Clutch Hits Evade Penguins in 5-4 Loss to UIC

Marcus Heath
Marcus Heath

Youngstown State stranded 10 runners and couldn't come up with a big hit in the clutch in a 5-4 loss in the series finale to UIC on Sunday afternoon at Eastwood Field.

With the win, UIC took the series two games to one and now holds a one game advantage in the Horizon League standings on YSU with an 8-7 record.

Drew Dosch and Marcus Heath had two hits apiece for YSU while three Flames batters had two hits. The bottom third of the order for the Penguins combined to go 4-for-7 with four walks in the contest.

Neither team had a hit through two innings, but UIC got two runs on two hits in the third to take a 2-0 lead. After the Penguins threw out a runner at the plate on an infield grounder, Tyler Detmer brought in John Coen and Andres Ortegano on a one-out double to left.

David Saluga led off the bottom of the third with a single for YSU, and Heath, Neil Schroth and Mike Accardi followed with singles to get the Penguins on the board and keep the bases loaded. UIC starter Ian Lewandowski got Jason Shirley to fly out to shallow left, and he struck out Dosch for the second out. Josh White then hit into a fielder's choice that ended the inning.

The Penguins took the lead in the fifth with two runs on just one hit. Heath and Schroth reached on a single and walk to start the inning, and Lewandowski misplayed Accardi's sacrifice bunt to load the bases. Jason Shirley walked to force in a run and tie the game, and, after Dosch fouled out, Josh White gave the Penguins the lead with a sacrifice fly to right field.

UIC scored two unearned runs, both of which were on bunts, in the sixth to go up 4-3. Alex De LaRosa singled, and Joe Betcher was hit by a pitch to start the inning. Jared Wight came in to relieve starter Lance Horner, and the reliever threw wide to first on Alex Jurich's bunt, which allowed De LaRosa to score. Ryan Shober then brought in Betcher with a squeeze bunt to put the Flames ahead.

YSU had two runners throw out trying to steal second base in the seventh and stranded two runners in both the sixth and eighth innings. The Flames added an insurance run in the ninth whn Ortegano scored from first with the hit-and-run on when Detmer singled to right center.

Accardi walked to start the ninth and scored two batters later on Dosch's one-out single. Dosch, though, was thrown out trying to advance on a ball in the dirt for the second out, and Lipari grounded out with White on first to end the game.

Lewandowski allowed four runs, two of which were unearned, on seven hits and seven walks in 8.1 innings. Mike McKinley came in for the final two outs to earn his first save for UIC. Horner was tabbed with the loss, allowing four runs, two of which were unearned, on six hits and two walks in five innings. Russ Harless threw 2.2 scoreless frames, and Nic Manuppelli allowed the run in the ninth.

Youngstown State will play at Kent State on Tuesday at 5 p.m. The Penguins will then return to Eastwood Field to host West Virginia on Wednesday evening at 6.