YSU’s Memorable Postseason Ends in Loss to Stanford

Photo by Ron Stevens
Photo by Ron Stevens

Bloomington, Ind. -- Stanford scored six two-out runs in the second inning and got solid pitching after the first inning to beat the Youngstown State baseball team 12-4 on Sunday afternoon in the Bloomington Regional at Bart Kaufman Field.

The Cardinal advances to play Indiana in the championship game this evening while Youngstown State sees perhaps the most memorable postseason run in school history come to a close. The Penguins finish the season 17-38, but they'll be remembered for capturing the program's second Horizon League Tournament title and first victory in the NCAA Tournament.

Just as they did throughout last week's Horizon League Tournament and in Saturday's victory over Indiana State, the Penguins built an early lead. But the magic from those five historic wins over the last 11 days concluded against the first Pac-12 opponent in school history.

Youngstown State scored twice in the first inning without recording a hit to go up 2-0. Hanewich loaded the bases on two walks and a hit batsman, and two runs came in when Danny Diekroeger mishandled David Saluga's grounder. Brett Hanewich got back-to-back strikeouts of Josh White and Mike Accardi with runners on second and third to end the inning with only a two-run deficit. Starting with those two strikeouts, Hanwich retired 12 out of 13 batters.

The Cardinal scored six two-out runs in the bottom of the second, four of which came on back-to-back home runs by Diekroeger and Alex Blandino. Ryan Krokos walked two of the first four batters in the inning, but he still had two outs with runners on first and second before the Cardinal registered four straight run-scoring hits. No. 9 hitter Brett Michael Doran lined a single to left, and Tommy Edman followed with a soft single to center that brought in the tying run. Diekroeger then hit a three-run blast to right, and Blandino hit the next pitch over the wall in left to put the Cardinal up 6-2.

The Cardinal then scored three runs on a bases-loaded walk, a sacrifice fly and a ground out in the fourth to go up 9-2. Edman, the second batter of the inning, accounted for the only hit in the winning. Stanford added two runs in the sixth and another in the eighth to go up 12-2.

Phil Lipari doubled and scored on Nick DiNello's RBI single, and White singled in Brent Gillespie in the ninth for the final tally.

Lipari finished with two of YSU's six hits in the game and completed his career by hitting safely in 12 straight games. The Horizon League Tournament MVP batted .444 over his final 16 games, including .333 in the Bloomington Regional. White hit a team-high .417 in the NCAA Tournament.

Despite the lengthy first inning, Hanewich ended up holding the Penguins to two runs on three hits and three walks in seven innings to earn the victory. Krokos was charged with the loss as one of six Penguins pitchers to take the mound.

Press Conference Quotes

STEVE GILLISPIE: As disappointed as we are that we didn't play a little bit better today and that we were unable to win that ballgame and keep moving forward, I'm that much more proud of our guys and our kids and the way they have gone about things in the last month. They have a lot to be proud of.

Accomplished some really huge milestones, not only for themselves as individuals but for our program and for Youngstown State, and I think we can really build off of what we have done in the last month. It gives us a great opportunity to move forward, so we're excited about that.

I'd like to thank Indiana University, the tournament directors, the hosts, just everybody involved. It was absolutely a first‑class event. I've been to a few of these in my time, and this is absolutely a fantastically‑run NCAA regional. So thank you to Bloomington and Indiana University.

Q. The past few weeks, just coming from where you were during the regular season and your conference season, and advancing to the regionals and your experience here, just take us through the whole process and tell us where you came from earlier in the year to competing with some of the better teams in the nation.

PHIL LIPARI: It's been an incredible ride. Couldn't trade it for anything. Teammates are phenomenal. Started off the year obviously played good competition, but we just weren't playing very good baseball.

And to finish it like we did, we played pretty much flawless in our conference tournament. A couple games out here were disappointing, but we came out against Indiana State and played much better.

You know, like I said, I wouldn't trade it for the world. It's just an amazing experience and to be able to share it with these guys is awesome.

Q. How can you guys take a moment like playing on the same field as a program like Stanford, and use kind of what they do to build your program?

DAVID SALUGA: I mean, obviously it's such an accomplishment to be on the field with them. For the younger guys to get this experience ‑‑ as a senior leaving, it was great. But as a freshman playing in these games, in the future, three years from now, they are definitely going to rely on this and keep going back to and always be proud of what we did this past year.

Q. When you go back and talk to some of your friends from high school and stuff, what are you going to be able to tell them about this experience, about the program, for years to come now that you have made it this far?

PHIL LIPARI: Hopefully we turn it around a little bit. I think as seniors, that's pretty much the way we wanted to go out. Obviously we got a ring, and you know, talking about it, just going back to the feeling that we had in the dog pile; and how we accomplished what we did and the streak that we were on; and obviously finishing it out here against Indiana, one of the top teams in the country in Stanford, these are moments not too many people get to have.

It's just going to be awesome to look back on and see what we accomplished.

Q. There was a play in the defensive half of the second inning a play at the plate and a throw from right field, and looked like the ball got cut off and looked like there may have been a play there. What did you see as far as that inning went?

STEVE GILLISPIE: Well, from my angle, it was kind of hard to tell, whether it was slightly off‑line.

I think the guys that are out there, we drilled through that and worked on communication, and just knowing that if it's off‑line and there isn't a chance to get the out, we want to keep runners from moving up.

So I'm going to trust the players; that they made a good choice there. From my angle, it's hard to tell, but I'm going to put my faith in them that they did the right thing.

Q. Do you feel you ran out of steam at all, or did you just run into two opponents in Indiana and Stanford who are just a little bit better?

STEVE GILLISPIE: Well, I think the biggest thing is that their skill level, their talent level. If you make mistakes, you probably are going to get hurt pretty badly.

And we couldn't close out innings. After that second inning, then they put up six; that was the 18th run that we had given up in the tournament. 16 of those 18 runs came after two outs were recorded in the inning.

So if you can't put away a hitter and if you keep missing toward the middle of the plate in counts that are to a hitter's advantage, you're probably going to get a lot worse than maybe what we experienced during the course of the year when you have athletes like were on the field today and Friday.

Q. All clichés aside everything and what did you tell your team immediately after this loss and what was kind of your message to them?

STEVE GILLISPIE: Well, as I said, it was an honor to see what had happened and be a part of that from a coaching standpoint.

We had set a goal back when we were playing at Milwaukee that there was 25 days leading up to the conference tournament, and they say that it takes 21 days to create a new habit, so we had time to gel and come together, and they embraced that.

I thanked them for their commitment to what they did there, and each team's unique, because that team will never be the same again. Guys will move on; they will graduate; next year will be a whole new team.

So it was a sad time, but yet, they had a lot, a lot to be proud of what they accomplished in that 25 days.

Q. Looked like Coach Marquess had a few words for you after the game, looked like of encouragement. Can you share anything about what he said to you after the game was over?

STEVE GILLISPIE: I just told him that I had been a big fan of his. I grew up in Beatrice, Nebraska, which is about 60 miles from Omaha. So I was able to get to some College World Series.

Stanford, obviously one of the elite programs in college baseball and one of the storied programs in college baseball, and I told him I was a big fan and it was an honor to coach against him today. Where I had been geographically, we are not going to run into Stanford too often, so I had an opportunity to tell him that. So I just thanked him.

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