Northern Kentucky scored in each of the middle five innings and held off Youngstown State in the ninth to win game one of a three-game series 9-8 on Friday night at Eastwood Field.
The Norse scored four runs in the fourth to take a 6-5 lead, and both teams scored once in each of the fifth through seventh innings. YSU left two runners on base in the ninth inning and stranded 12 runners in the game.
Andrew Kendrick had three hits and walked, and Lorenzo Arcuri added three hits as both teams finished with 14 hits. Every Penguin who batted reached base at least once. Tito Montgomery and Logan Spurlin each had three hits for NKU.
Northern Kentucky scored a pair of unearned runs in the third inning for the game's first runs, and YSU countered by batting around and scoring five times in the bottom of the inning to go up 5-2. Billy Salem singled in Nico Padovan for the first run, and back-to-back walks to Kendrick and Gerrad Rohan forced in a run that tied the score. Jonny Miller followed with a go-ahead two-run single, and Shane Willoughby's sacrifice fly put the Penguins up by three.
The Norse scored four times in the top of the fourth, with the final two being unearned, to reclaim a 6-5 lead, and YSU was never able to do better than match NKU each inning the rest of the game. Martinez delivered the go-ahead hit on a two-out single to left center.
NKU scored a two-out run in the fifth sixth and seventh innings to keep pace with the Penguins. Kyle Benyo hit an RBI single to plate Rohan in the fifth, and Kendrick singled in Arcuri in the sixth to make the score 8-7. Conor Ledger hit a solo homer in the seventh for NKU's final run, and YSU's last run came in the bottom of the seventh when Alex Larivee singled in Anthony Rohan.
YSU got the go-ahead run on base in the ninth before Aric Harris preserved the win for the Norse. Anthony Rohan worked the count to draw a two-out walk, and Arcuri followed with a single to left. Harris got Larivee to strike out on a 2-2 high fastball to end the game.
Youngstown State will try to even the series on Saturday when the teams play at 2 p.m.