Gerrad Rohan hit an RBI double with one-out in the bottom of the ninth-inning to give the Youngstown State baseball team a 7-6 victory over Valparaiso in game two of Friday's doubleheader at Eastwood Field. The Penguins lost game one, which was played in front of more than 2,200 area students, 15-7.
Rohan, one of four seniors who was honored between games as YSU celebrated Senior Day, plated fellow senior Billy Salem with the winning run. The pair both transferred to Youngstown State for this season from Akron, and the walk-off win set up a big doubleheader for the Penguins at Northern Kentucky on Sunday. YSU currently trails NKU by a half game for the final spot in the Horizon League Tournament.
Rohan had hits in each of his final three at bats, and he accounted for half of YSU's six hits in game two. Kyle Benyo hit a go-ahead two-run single in the eighth to put YSU up 6-4 before Valparaiso tied the game in the top of the ninth.
Valpo scored twice in the top of the first, and YSU's run in the second came on three straight walks and Benyo's RBI ground out. Both teams scored in the fifth, and Youngstown State's first lead came after it scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth. Andrew Kendrick led off with a walk, and Rohan hit a infield high chopper that went for YSU's first hit of the game. Trey Bridis sacrificed the runners up a base, and Shane Willoughby hit a soft single to left that scored both as YSU went ahead 4-3.
Valparaiso tied the game at 4-4 in the seventh on a walk, two soft infield singles and a sacrifice fly. Benyo's two-run single in the eighth plated pinch-runner Nico Padovan and Rohan, and it came after Luke VanLanen came on to get two big strikeouts with runners on second and third with nobody out.
YSU closer Kevin Yarabinec retired two of the first three Valpo batters in the top of the ninth, his second inning of work, but the Crusaders mounted a two-out rally. Nick Palace extended the inning with a single to left, and Daniel Delaney hit a triple to deep right that plated the tying runs. Yarabinec made a nice grab on a hard bouncer up the middle for the third out to set up Rohan's heroics in the bottom of the inning.
Salem hit a one-out single to right, and Padovan followed with a walk to move the winning run into scoring position. Ryan Fritze came on for Valpo to face Rohan, who hit the walk-off ground-rule double to right center on a 1-1 pitch.
YSU starter Jeremy Quinlan allowed one earned run in 4.1 innings before leaving with 104 pitches on his record. Yarabinec earned his fifth win despite suffering the blown save.
James Stea had four hits to lead Valparaiso's 11-hit attack.
Youngstown State did all of its scoring in the opener in the first and ninth innings, and Valparaiso scored its 15 runs in the middle three innings.
Alex Larivee doubled and scored on Kendrick's sacrifice fly in the first inning to put Youngstown State up 1-0. Valparaiso scored the next 15 runs, which included eight in the fourth, five in the fifth and two in the sixth, to go up 15-1. YSU added six runs in the bottom of the ninth for the final tally.
Benyo, Bridis and Padovan each had two hits for YSU in the opener, and eight of Valparaiso's nine starters had multiple hits.
Game one of Sunday's doubleheader at Northern Kentucky will begin at noon. Both games will be broadcast live on ESPN3.