Strong Bullpen Effort Allows YSU to Rally for 7-6 Win Over Pitt

Josh North (Photo by Ron Stevens)
Josh North (Photo by Ron Stevens)

Three Youngstown State relievers combined to hold Pittsburgh without a hit over the final six innings, and the Penguins rallied for a 7-6 victory over the Panthers on Wednesday evening at Eastwood Field.

Pittsburgh led 6-3 after a four-run top of the third, but YSU scored the final four runs of the game to beat the Panthers for the first time since April 4, 2007. Jeremy Quinlan retired the final three batters he faced in the third, and Robert Switka, Alex Frey and Josh North did not allow a hit from the fourth inning on.

Kevin Hix paced the offense with three hits and two RBIs, and Nick DiNello hit a two-run triple in YSU's three-run second. Josh White doubled and scored the winning run on a wild pitch in the seventh inning.

North struck out five of the eight batters he faced and allowed just one base runner, a two-out walk in the ninth, to earn his second win. He fanned the numbers one, two and four batters in the Pitt lineup in the ninth.

Pittsburgh looked like it was poised for a big offensive day early, but starter Ryan Krokos was able to limit the Panthers to single runs in the first two innings. He walked the first two batters in the first, and Stephen Vranka scored on a double steal for the game's first run. Jordan Frabisilio, like Vranka, walked and scored in the second to put the Panthers up 2-0.

YSU's biggest offensive output came in the second inning when it scored three runs on four hits. Pitt starter Renan Rodriguez struck out Matt Sullivan to start the inning, but he allowed hits to the next four batters. Kris Moules and Lorenzo Arcuri hit opposite-field singles to put runners on first and second. DiNello then tripled to deep left to tie the score, and he scored one batter later on Hix's single to put YSU up 3-2.

Pitt answered right back, though, and took a 6-3 lead with a four-run third. Krokos allowed a leadoff double before handing the ball off to Quinlan, and the Panthers greeted him with four straight singles. Quinlan did a good job of escaping with a line-out, RBI ground out and ground out to keep the Penguins in the game.

Down 6-3, YSU scored runs in each of the next three innings to tie the score. Sullivan singled in Kurt Laver in the bottom of the third, and Alex Larivee singled home Arcuri with two outs in the fourth. Pinch-runner Mike Accardi scored the tying run on Hix's two-out single in the fifth.

With the bullpen in control, White led off the seventh with a double and advanced on Accardi's bunt single. Pitt reliever Luke Curtis then bounced one past catcher Caleb Parry that allowed White to score the winning run.

Youngstown State will resume Horizon League play on Friday at 5:05 p.m. at UIC.