Five-Run Fifth Carries Penguins to 8-5 Victory Over Indiana State

Jason Shirley (Photo by Ron Stevens)
Jason Shirley (Photo by Ron Stevens)

Westfield, Indiana – The Youngstown State baseball team scored five runs in the fifth inning and got a strong effort from its bullpen to defeat Indiana State 8-5 on Monday afternoon at Grand Park.

The Penguins improved to 1-4 with the victory, while the Sycamores dropped to 4-7. The teams split their weather-shortened series, and YSU improved to 2-1 all-time against Indiana State. Youngstown State beat ISU in the Bloomington Regional in 2014.

Jason Shirley drove in three runs, and Frank Califano, Brent Gillespie and Shane Willoughby had two hits apiece for YSU. Eight different Penguins had hits, and Youngstown State went 6-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

After Indiana State scored in the first inning, Shirley got YSU on the board in the top of the third with a sacrifice fly that plated Jonny Miller. The Sycamores got the run right back in the bottom of the inning on a balk and led 2-1 through four innings. That's when the Penguins' bats woke up in a big way, with six of their 11 hits on the afternoon coming in the fifth.

Willoughby led off the top of the fifth with a double, and Alex Core, Miller and Califano followed with singles. Miller's and Califano's hits were on bunts, and Core scored the go-ahead run when Shirley walked with the bases loaded. Lorenzo Arcuri brought in Miller on a sacrifice fly, and Alex Larivee and Gillespie had RBI singles as the Penguins tacked on two more runs to go up 6-2.

Indiana State got a pair of two-out runs in the bottom of the fifth to cut the margin in half, but the Penguins' bullpen held the Sycamores to just one run on two hits over the final four innings.

YSU got two big insurance runs in the eighth as Willoughby scored on Califano's groundout and Shirley singled in Hix. Indiana State's final run came on a ground out in the bottom of the ninth.

Penguins starter Jeremy Quinlan allowed four runs on eight hits in five innings and matched a career high with six strikeouts to earn the win. Anthony Konders did not allow a run in the sixth or seventh innings, and Austin Lujano pitched a scoreless eighth. Ryan Krokos surrendered the harmless run in the ninth.

ISU starter Jeremy McKinney allowed six runs on seven hits in 4.1 innings in the loss.

Youngstown State will make a 470-mile trip Monday evening to begin a two-game series at Radford on Tuesday. First pitch against the Highlanders is set for 4 p.m., and D.J. Carr is slated to take the mound for the Penguins.