Greg Dunham pitched six solid innings, and the Youngstown State baseball team got boosts from lots of its newcomers in an 8-4 win over Belmont in the 2018 season opener for both teams.
Dunham, a South Range High graduate who transferred home from Buffalo, held the Bruins to one run on four hits over six innings to earn the win in his Penguins debut. He helped Youngstown State to its first win in a season opener since 2010.
While Dunham shined on the mound in his debut, six different Penguins making their first starts in the batting order had hits. Nick Caruso had a game-high three hits, and Blaze Glenn hit a homer in the ninth to provide a pair of insurance runs.
The only run scored off Dunham came on a two-out RBI single by Belmont's Cully Day in the bottom of the second. The Penguins scored six runs in the fourth and fifth innings to go up 6-1, and Glenn's home run came once Belmont cut the deficit to two.
YSU's four runs in the fourth inning came after OVC Preseason Pitcher of the Year Dylan King started the frame with back-to-back strikeouts. King allowed five straight baserunners, and his bases-loaded walk to Jeff Wehler on his last batter allowed the Penguins to take a 2-1 lead. Zach Lopatka then greeted Chandler Schultz with a two-run single to right that put YSU up 4-1.
Caruso's two-run double with one out in the fifth extended the margin to 6-1, and Dunham preserved that five-run cushion through six innings.
Belmont got two runs back in the seventh without recording a hit as the Penguins' bullpen walked four batters in the inning. The Bruins then got an unearned run in the eighth to tighten the deficit to 6-4, but Glenn's two-out homer with Trey Bridis aboard in the ninth created some breathing room. Joel Hake, who came on to start the eighth, retired the Bruins in order in the ninth to record the save.
Youngstown State and Belmont will play game two of their three-game series on Saturday at 2 p.m. Eastern.