UAB Tops Youngstown State 4-2 in Penguins’ Season Opener

Mike Accardi (Photo by Ron Stevens)
Mike Accardi (Photo by Ron Stevens)

The Youngstown State baseball team was held to five hits, and UAB scored three runs in the fourth inning to rally for a 4-2 victory on Friday evening at Regions Field.

The Blazers improved to 6-0 with the victory, while YSU dropped its season opener.

YSU scored two unearned runs in the second inning, but it was held to just two hits after the third inning. UAB cut the deficit in half in the third, and it went ahead on a two-run infield single with two outs in the fourth.

Penguins starter Patrick O'Brien allowed all four runs, three of which were earned, on eight hits and a walk in five innings. Austin Lujano and Robert Switka followed to provide three innings of scoreless relief. Brent Gillespie paced the offense with two of YSU's five hits.

UAB starter Johnny Lieske surrendered four hits and walked four batters in five innings, and Thomas Lowery allowed just two base runners over the final four innings for the save.

YSU capitalized on two UAB errors in the second as it took the 2-0 lead. David Saluga drew a leadoff walk, and Kris Moules reached on an error to put two runners on. Lieske struck out Nick DiNello and got Kevin Hix to fly out, but Saluga scored from second on a wild pitch and error on catcher Mitch Williams. Mike Accardi then singled in Moules for the game's second run.

UAB's first run came the same way YSU's did. Adam Smith doubled to left center with one out, and he scored on a wild pitch and throwing error by Penguins catcher Josh White. Ryan Prinzing tripled to lead off the bottom of the fourth, and he scored on Griffin Gum's RBI single. Jeff Schalk followed with a single to put runners at the corners with nobody out, and O'Brien buckled down to strike out the next two hitters. Williams, though, brought in both runs with his infield single, and that ended up accounting for the final scoring of the game.

Gillespie doubled to start the fifth and advanced to third with one out but was stranded there. The Penguins also had two runners on with two outs in a scoreless eighth. They stranded 10 runners in the game.

Prinzing was 3-for-4, and Williams and Smith both had two hits for the Blazers.

Youngstown State and UAB will resume their three-game series on Saturday at 2 p.m. Eastern. Junior right-hander Brendon Shoemake is scheduled to make his Penguins debut.