Former Youngstown State pitcher Phil Klein earned the victory in his first career start for the Texas Rangers over the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday evening at Fenway Park. The game was broadcast nationally on ESPN.
Klein, who was on the Rangers' Opening Day roster as a reliever, pitched 5.1 innings and led Texas to a 2-1 win. He surrendered five hits, walked one and struck out four batters – former American League MVP Dustin Pedroia, nine-time All-Star David Ortiz, Daniel Nava and Blake Swihart. After the game, Rangers manager Jeff Banister said, "I can't say enough about Phil Klein. A gutsy performance."
It was the first time a former Penguin started on the mound in a Major League Baseball game since Brad Hennessey started for the Giants on Sept. 26, 2008.
Klein made his MLB debut on Aug. 1, 2014, out of the bullpen against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. His career record is 2-2 with a 3.41 ERA in 29 innings over 24 appearances. He has struck out 30 batters and held opponents to a .194 batting average at the big league level.
Klein, who pitched at YSU from 2008-11 out of Gahanna, Ohio, finished his Penguins career ranking second in school history in career strikeouts with 258 and sixth in career innings pitched with 252. He set YSU's single-season record with 15 starts and recorded a Horizon-League leading 105 strikeouts, the second-highest total for a season in school history, as a senior in 2011. He twice made led the conference in strikeouts per nine innings.