The Youngstown State baseball team stranded 11 runners and missed plenty of opportunities early in dropping a 4-1 decision to Valparaiso on Friday afternoon at Emory G. Bauer Field.
With the loss, the Penguins will be playing in the first game of next week's Horizon League Tournament at Eastwood Field on Wednesday at 3 p.m.
YSU had ample opportunities to jump ahead early with 10 hits in the first four innings, but it only had one run to show for its hot start at the plate. Four of YSU's first eight outs were made on the basepaths. Meanwhile, Penguins' starter Patrick O'Brien retired 10 of the first 11 Crusader batters before allowing a run in the fourth, one in the sixth and two in the seventh.
All four Crusaders runs came with two outs.
Accardi singled and scored on Phil Lipari's two-out double in the top of the first, and Drew Dosch was thrown out at home trying to make it a two-run lead for the Penguins.
YSU's first out in the second came at third base when Neil Schroth tried to stretch a leadoff double into a triple. Youngstown State then had two outs on the bases in the third when it had four singles and did not have a runner cross the plate. Accardi led off with an infield single, but he was thrown out at second on a failed hit-and-run. Nick DiNello then singled and stole second before being picked off for the second out of the inning. Dosch and Josh White followed with singles before Lipari grounded out to end the inning. The Penguins left the bases loaded after two infield singles and a hit batsman in the top of the fourth.
O'Brien allowed just a two-out walk through 3.1 innings, and Valpo's first hit came on a Tanner Vavra single up the middle with one out in the fourth inning. Vavra went to second on a throwing error and scored on Chris Manning's infield single to make the score 1-1.
Andrew Bain reached on an infield single to start Valparaiso's sixth, and he stole second and scored on John Loeffler's single to give the Crusaders a 2-1 lead.
O'Brien retired the first two batters in the seventh, but Valpo was able to score two runs to push its lead to 4-1. Billy Cribbs started the spurt with a single, and Andy Burns followed with a double. Cribbs then scored on a balk, and Burns came in when DiNello lost Bain's fly ball in the sun.
O'Brien allowed all four runs on seven hits and a walk while striking out five in seven innings. Nic Manuppelli retired the Crusaders in order in the eighth.
Valpo starter Cole Webb allowed just the one run on 12 hits in six innings in earning his fourth win. Ben Mahar struck out three in his two innings of relief, and Karch Kowalczyk allowed a two-out walk in the ninth in registering his eighth save.
The Penguins and Crusaders will play game two of their series on Friday at 2 p.m. Eastern.