Flames Avoid Sweep with 8-2 Win Over YSU in Series Finale

Patrick O'Brien (Photo by Ron Stevens)
Patrick O'Brien (Photo by Ron Stevens)

Four UIC pitchers combined to limit the Youngstown State baseball team to four hits, and the Flames scored five runs in the final two innings to pull away for an 8-2 win over the Penguins on Sunday afternoon at Eastwood Field.

UIC starter Jack Andersen held the Penguins to one earned run on three hits in 6.1 innings, and the Penguins had one hit off the Flames bullpen.

Youngstown State took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning with a manufactured run. Alex Larivee doubled off the wall in left to start the inning, and he came around to score on a sacrifice bunt by Phil Lipari and a sacrifice fly by Matt Sullivan.

The Flames also used a sacrifice bunt in the third to tie the score at 1-1. Zenon Kolakowski led off with a single to right, and Cody Bohanek bunted him to second. O'Brien got John Coen to ground out for the second out of the inning, but Mickey McDonald's opposite field single plated Kolakowski.

UIC then took a 3-1 lead in the fourth with a pair of two-out runs. Jeff Boehm and Tyler Detmer singled and advanced to second and third with two outs. Kolakowski brought in both runs with a single to left after Patrick O'Brien thought he hit the outside corner for strike three on the previous pitch.

After Larivee's leadoff double, Anderson retired the next 11 hitters and didn't allow another hit until Brent Gillespie's two-out single in the fourth. He needed just 66 pitches to get through the first six innings, but YSU was able to chase him from the game with a run in the seventh that trimmed the deficit to 3-2. Gillespie reached on an error to start the inning, and Josh White was hit by a pitch to put two runners on. Both runners advanced when David Saluga was called out on a close play at first, and Gillespie scored on Kevin Hix's sacrifice fly to left.

UIC was able to add three runs in the eighth to go up 6-2. Alex Lee started the inning with an infield single, and Boehm walked. Josh North got Alex Jurich to pop up a bunt, but the Flames loaded the bases with one out on a throwing error by Sullivan. Lee scored on a wild pitch, and Conor Philbin doubled in the other two runs on an 11-pitch at bat. The Flames posted two more runs in the ninth to stretch their lead to 8-2.

Four Flames finished with two hits, and McDonald and Kolakowski added two RBIs to go with their two hits. UIC held an 11-4 edge in hits.

O'Brien struck out a season-high six batters in six innings while allowing seven hits. He did not walk a batter. North was charged with three runs, two of which were earned in 0.1 innings, and the two runs in the ninth came against Robert Switka.

Youngstown State will play host to Toledo on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at Eastwood Field.