The Youngstown State baseball team nearly completed a major comeback but ultimately dropped a 14-12 slugfest at Wright State on Friday evening at Nischwitz Stadium.
Jake Fryman, David Saluga and Matt Sullivan all homered for the Penguins, who scored seven runs in the eighth inning and had the tying run at the plate three times. Nine different YSU players had hits, and six Penguins had two hits.
Sean Murphy drove in four runs and was one of three Raiders with three hits.
Alex Larivee singled in Phil Lipari with one out in the first inning to give the Penguins an early lead, but Wright State scored three runs off YSU starter Ryan Krokos in the bottom of the inning. Sullivan doubled to start the second, and Saluga followed with a two-run homer to lock the game at 3-3. The Raiders plated three runs in the third to go ahead 6-3, and they led the rest of the game. John Brodner’s two-run homer made the score 8-3 in the fifth, and a three-run sixth put the Raiders up 11-3.
Fryman’s homered with Jason Shirley aboard in the seventh to make the score 11-5, and Wright State plate three more runs in the bottom of the seventh to take what seemed to be a comfortable 14-5 lead.
The Penguins did all of their scoring in the eighth with two outs, and Lipari’s RBI single brought in Kevin Hix to start the two-out rally. Shirley walked to load the bases, and Fryman followed with a two-run single to make the score 14-8. Kurt Laver then brought in Shirley with a single, and Sullivan’s three-run homer quickly got the Penguins within two runs. Reliever Cody Simon came on and walked Saluga on four pitches, and Andrew Elliott walked Hix before striking out Ross. Elliott also struck out three batters in the ninth around a two-out single by Shirley.
Both teams used five pitchers in the game that lasted 3:41, and both starters factored in the decision. Joey Hoelzel was charged with three runs on six hits and three walks in six innings, and Ryan Krokos allowed five earned runs in 2.2 innings. Elliott earned his 12th save for the Raiders.
The Penguins and Raiders will play game two of their three-game series on Saturday at 5 p.m.