The Youngstown State baseball team outlasted Toledo 17-16 in a high-scoring affair on Tuesday at Scott Park. The Penguins hit three home runs in the game as Trey Bridis went yard twice and Lucas Nasonti hit a three-run shot as part of a seven-run seventh inning.
The Penguins' 17 runs and 16 hits in the contest were both season highs. YSU scored the first three runs of the game and the lead would go on change hands three times. The Penguins plated 14 of their 17 runs over the final four innings and scored at least twice in four different frames.
Seven different players in the YSU lineup recorded at least two hits as Bridis and Jeff Wehler led the way with three apiece. Bridis went 3-for-5 with a pair of home runs, three RBIs and three runs scored while Wehler was 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored. Nick LaBrasca recorded a team-high four RBIs while Nasonti drove in three runs of his own.
The Penguins jumped out to an early lead right off the bat as Bridis hit a leadoff home run to left field. Wehler hit a one-out double and stole third before being brought home on an RBI single from Blaze Glenn which made it 2-0. Wehler stole a total of three bases in the game and became the first Penguin to steal at least 20 bases in a season since 1998.
YSU added to its lead in the top of the second inning as Andrew Kendrick drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second on a groundout. Later in the frame, LaBrasca drove in Kendrick with an RBI single to push the lead to 3-0.
Toledo answered with five runs on seven hits in the home half of the second to take a 5-3 lead. Trace Hatfield, Corey Tipton and John Servello each had run-scoring hits in the inning.
The Rockets added to their lead in the bottom of the fifth as Servello and Ross Adolph walked to begin the inning. After each runner was moved up 90 feet with a sacrifice bunt, Brad Boss hit a two-run double down the right field line to increase the lead to 7-3.
The Penguins were able to cut into the deficit with two runs in the top of the sixth. Kendrick drew a leadoff walk and advanced to third on a single by Nick Caruso. Kendrick would score on a passed ball and Caruso on a wild pitch to cut the Toledo advantage to 7-5.
However, Toledo would get both runs back and go in front 9-5 in the bottom half of the sixth on an RBI double by Servello and an RBI single by Adolph.
YSU exploded for seven runs on four hits and batted through the order in the top of the seventh to re-take the lead for good. Wehler led off the stanza with a walk and scored on a one-out, RBI single by Drew Dickerson. After a pair of walks to load the bases, LaBrasca reached on an error, allowing two runs to score. Bridis tied the game with an RBI single and Nasonti put the Penguins in front 12-9 with his first-career home run, a three-run shot to left field.
Toledo answered back once again with two runs in the bottom of the seventh as Boss recorded an RBI triple and Hatfield an RBI single to pull the Rockets within a run at 12-11.
The Penguins would push their advantage to six with five more runs in the top of the eighth inning. LaBrasca hit a three-run double and Bridis hit his second homer of the game, a two-run blast to left field, to make it 17-11.
As was the case all-game long, the Rockets continued to fight and made things interesting with five runs in the bottom of the ninth. Adolph's two-out, two-run homer to center pulled Toledo within one at 17-16 but Joel Hake got Dalton Bollinger to line out as the Penguins hung on to earn a hard-fought victory.
All nine starters in the Toledo lineup recorded a hit as the Rockets out-hit the Penguins 19-16. Boss, Hatfield and Bollinger had three hits apiece while Adolph, Boss, Hatfield and Servello each had three RBIs.
The Penguins will face another MAC opponent on the road tomorrow as they travel to Ohio. First pitch at Bob Wren Stadium is scheduled for 6 p.m.