Penguins Falter Late In Series Finale Against Milwaukee

Alex Larivee homered against Milwaukee on Sunday.
Alex Larivee homered against Milwaukee on Sunday.

Westfield, Ind. - The Youngstown State baseball team built a 6-2 lead against Milwaukee after seven innings, but the Panthers scored the final seven runs with four in the eighth and three in the 11th for a 9-6 victory in the series finale at Grand Park on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

YSU (3-7 overall and 1-2 in the Horizon League) scored runs in the second, third fifth and seventh innings to build a four-run advantage. But the Panthers (10-4 and 2-1) plated four to tie the game in the eighth and Sam Koenig's two-out three-run home run in the top of the 11th proved to be the difference.

The Guins had chances in both the ninth and 10th to win the game. In the ninth, YSU had runners at first and second with one out before a double play ended the inning. The 10th was the best chance for the Penguins as they loaded the bases with one out. However, Jonny Miller popped up a bunt attempt up to the pitcher and Frank Califano grounded out to shortstop.

Starter Kevin Yarabinec pitched a strong 6.2 innings allowing just two unearned runs while scattering seven hits, striking out three with no walks.

However the bullpen could not hold the lead allowing four Panthers runs in the top of the eighth inning. Mitch Gelfi doubled in a pair of runs to cut a YSU 6-2 advantage in half at 6-4. A groundout by Nick Unes scored Ghelfi to make it a one-run game. With two outs a triple by Zach Taylor allowed Koenig to race home with the tying run.

The Penguins took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the bottom of the second inning as Kevin Hix singled home Alex Larivee. Larivee led off the inning with a base hit and moved up to second on a groundout by Lorenzo Arcuri. With two outs, Hix hit a sharp single to right and Larivee slide in safely just ahead of the throw home by Derek Peake.

The Panthers tied the game with an unearned run in the fourth. With one out, Gelfi singled and advanced to third when Koenig had a base hit to center. On the play, Califano's throw beat Gelfi to third, but Larivee lost the ball when applying the tag. The next batter, Tyler Hermann grounded out to short and Gelfi raced home with the tying run.

Larivee responded in the bottom half of the inning blasting a 1-0 offering from Joe Pavlovich over the left-field fence to put the Guins in front 2-1. It was Larivee's first home run of his YSU career.

Some drama made the game interesting in the fifth.

Following the second out of the inning, Milwaukee Coach Scott Doffek was ejected by the home plate umpire. The Panthers responded with the tying run three batters later as Peake singled home Solberg.

The Guins scratched out a pair of runs to go on top 4-2 in the bottom of the inning.

Hix started the inning with a walk and a bloop single to left center by Shirley gave YSU runners at first and second. A bunt by Miller was fielded but the throw from Hermann was high and wide allowing Hix to race home from second. The next batter, Califano, placed a drag bunt to the right of the mound and Jason Shirley came home from third to plate the Guins' fourth run of the afternoon.

In the seventh, Shirley legged out a triple to left center and Miller drove him home with a sharp single through to left through the drawn in Panther infield to make it a 5-2 Penguin lead. Later in the inning, Miller came home on a balk to increase the lead to four.

YSU returns to non-league play on Tuesday when it is scheduled to take on Toledo. First pitch against the Rockets is set for 3 p.m.