Youngstown State held a 5-0 lead after four innings, but UIC scored 15 runs over the next four innings to rally and defeat the Penguins 15-5 in an elimination game in the Horizon League Baseball Championship on a cold Friday afternoon at Eastwood Field.
UIC advanced to play another elimination game against Wright State on Friday evening while YSU's season ended with a 14-43 record.
Devin Higgins had three of YSU's six hits and drove in three runs from the ninth spot in the line-up. Joe Betcher was 4-for-4 and scored four times for UIC.
Higgins drove in two runs on a single for YSU in the second after UIC starter Ian Lewandowski beaned three Penguin hitters to load the bases. Higgins then lined a single to left to bring in Kris Moules in the fourth, and Phil Lipari singled in Higgins and Neil Schroth to put the Penguins up 5-0.
YSU starter Blake Aquadro, an all-tournament team selection last season, held the Flames to two hits through four innings before running into trouble in the fifth. He hit Betcher to start the inning, and he allowed two straight singles to load the bases. Ryan Shober brought in the first run on a sacrifice fly, and Aquadro got a fielder's choice for the second out of the inning. Ryan Boss then tripled just under the glove of centerfielder Mike Accardi to get two more runs in, and Boss scored on Alex De LaRosa's single to make the score 5-4.
The Flames scored three two-out runs in sixth, two of which were unearned, and they blew the game open with six runs on three hits, two errors, two walks and a hit batsman in the seventh. The final two runs came in the eighth.
Aquadro, who made his school-record 49th career start, was charged with the loss in his final effort as a Penguin. The senior allowed five earned runs – seven total – on nine hits in 5.2 innings. Mike Schoolcraft got the win for UIC, allowing three runs in five innings of relief of Lewandowski.