Penguins Rally Late to Split Doubleheader with Kent State

Josh White (Photo by Ron Stevens)
Josh White (Photo by Ron Stevens)

The Youngstown State baseball team and Kent State both won a game with a big inning in their last at bat in a doubleheader split at Eastwood Field on Tuesday evening.

The Penguins scored seven runs in the bottom of the sixth to rally for a 7-4 victory over the Golden Flashes in the nightcap. That came after Kent State scored six runs in the top of the seventh in the opener to win 11-7.

Josh White was 4-for-7 on the day, and Phil Lipari was 2-for-4 with three runs scored and three RBIs for YSU.

Kent State's game two starting pitcher Michael Clark was nearly unhittable. He struck out 12 batters in five innings while allowing just two hits, a two-out double to White in the fourth and a double by Brent Gillespie in the fifth that was lost in the lights. Clark handed the ball off to the bullpen with a 4-0 lead, but that's when the Penguins spoiled his victory.

Eli Martin hit Kevin Hix and Kris Moules to start the inning, and he was promptly removed for Josh Pierce. Pierce got Matt Sullivan to bounce what could have been a double play ball back to the mound, but his throw went into centerfield, and the inning snowballed from there. Hix scored on the error for the only earned run of the inning, and the Golden Flashes had another error on a sacrifice bunt attempt by Lipari. Jason Shirley's RBI single brought in White with the tying run, and the Penguins took the lead when Lipari scored on a wild pitch. Shirley later scored on another wild pitch to make the score 6-4, and Mike Accardi came in on Hix's bunt single for the final tally.

Anthony Konders worked around two-out walk in the top of the seventh to earn his first save. Ryan Smith earned his first career victory after recording the final two outs of the sixth.

YSU starter Jeremy Quinlan pitched will in his first career start. He allowed two runs on a two-out double that should have been caught in the third in four innings of work. He surrendered four hits and walked one while striking out three.

In game one, the Penguins fell behind 2-0 before battling back to take two-run leads after the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. However, with YSU leading 7-5 in the seventh and final inning, Kent State scored six times to earn the win.

After KSU opened the game with two runs off YSU starter Jared Wight, Lipari cranked a two-run homer in the bottom first to tie the contest. Shirley opened the game with a single before Lipari belted his second home run of the season into the right-field bullpen. YSU took its first lead of the game in the bottom of the second inning when Accardi came home on a fielder's choice by Shane Willoughby.

Wight settled down and stayed in the game until the top of the fourth. He allowed just two hits and had two strikeouts in 3.2 innings of work. In the fourth, Kent State threatened with two-on, but with two outs Robert Switka came on to strike out Sawyer Polen and end the threat.

In the bottom of the fourth, YSU extended its lead to 4-2 when Moules scored on a wild pitch by Andy Ravel.

KSU tied the game scoring twice in the top of the fifth on RBI doubles by Jeff Revesz and Alex Miklos. But the Guins regained the lead in the home half of the inning as Sullivan singled home Lipari and White singled in Gillespie.

The Golden Flashes picked up a run in the sixth before YSU answered when Lipari had a perfectly placed bunt up the third-base line to plate Hix.

YSU led 7-5 entering the seventh inning, but KSU scored six times on seven hits to rally for the win. Cody Koch tied the score with a two-run single, and the go-ahead run scored on Polen's double.

Alex Frey was charged with the loss, with four of the runs in the seventh going on his record. Kent State closer Eric Dorsch came on to get the final out in the sixth, and he retired the Penguins in order in the seventh to earn the win.

The Penguins return to Horizon League play on Friday when they visit Valparaiso.