The Youngstown State baseball team came up short in what turned into a home run derby on Friday at Northern Kentucky as it fell 16-13 in game one of a series at the Bill Aker Baseball Complex.
Trey Bridis and Nick LaBrasca both hit home runs for the Penguins, who pounded out 20 hits in the loss. Griffin Doersching clubbed three homers, and the Norse hit five as a team to earn the win and move a half game ahead of YSU in the Horizon League standings.
Bridis and LaBrasca both had four hits, and Lucas Nasonti had three hits to lead the Penguins. In addition to totaling 20 hits, YSU also stole eight bases, which was one shy of the school record. Doersching, NKU's freshman designated hitter, finished 4-for-5 with four runs scored and nine RBIs.
Youngstown State played in its third slugfest in four days, and this time it couldn't keep up. The Penguins outlasted Toledo 17-16 for a win on Tuesday, and they beat Ohio 10-9 on Wednesday.
Bridis led off the game with his 11th home run of the season, and YSU went up 2-0 in the first inning when Jeff Wehler singled, stole two bases and scored on a Drew Dickerson single. But that ended up being the Penguins' only lead of the game as NKU scored six runs in the bottom of the first and answered every YSU rally attempt.
The first five Norse batters reached in the bottom of the first, and Dominic Mercurio's home run tied the score at 2-2. Doersching hit his first homer three batters later, a three-run blast that made the score 5-2 before an out was recorded. The Norse added another run on an RBI single by leadoff batter Mike Moffatt, who was the 10th of 12 men to bat in the inning.
Neither team scored in the second or third innings, and YSU's first comeback attempt came in the fourth. Andrew Kendrick doubled to start the inning, and LaBrasca's second home run of the season two batters later made the score 6-4. Nasonti then brought in Bridis with a two-out double to get the Penguins within one at 6-5. NKU's answer in the bottom half was four runs, two of which came on a two-run homer by Cole Heavelin that forced out YSU starter Greg Dunham.
Doersching's second three-run homer in the bottom of the fifth extended NKU's lead to 13-5, but YSU kept battling and scored four times in the sixth to get back in the game. Nasonti brought in a run on a fielder's choice, and he combined with Web Charles on a double steal of second and home to make the score 13-7. Dickerson then doubled in Nasonti and Blaze Glenn to bring the Penguins to within 13-9 and chop the deficit in half.
Bridis' RBI single got the Penguins within 13-10 in the top of the seventh, but Doersching's third homer capped a three-run bottom half of the inning and put the Norse up 16-10. LaBrasca hit an RBI double, and Charles followed with a two-run single in the top of the eighth for the final tally.
The Penguins will try to even the series on Saturday at 1 p.m.