Missed Scoring Chances Doom Penguins in 5-2 Loss to Milwaukee

Joel Hake
Joel Hake

The Youngstown State baseball team had its chances but couldn't get a big hit as it fell 5-2 to Milwaukee on Sunday afternoon at Eastwood Field.

In a game where the teams combined to strand 23 runners on base, Youngstown State had the tying run on base twice in the final four innings in the loss. The Penguins left 11 runners total, including at least one in each of the first eight innings, and were 3-for-19 with runners on base. YSU also made two costly outs on the bases that hurt good scoring opportunities.

Trey Bridis was 2-for-4 and scored a run, and five other Penguins had hits. YSU also drew seven walks, four of which came in the first two innings.

Milwaukee completed the three-game sweep and improved to 9-6 in Horizon League play. YSU fell to 7-10 in the conference.

The Penguins had Milwaukee on the ropes early but failed to capitalize and take a big lead early. YSU, batting first because the series was moved to Eastwood Field due to weather issues in Milwaukee, had the first two runners on in each of the first three innings and scored just once.

UWM starter Jared Reklaitis struggled with his control and threw 10 straight balls at one point in the first inning. That prompted activity to start in the Panthers bullpen, but Reklaitis was able to stick around and limited the Penguins to one run in three innings. With Bridis and Jeff Wehler at the corners with nobody out in the first, Wehler was thrown out trying to steal second. Reklaitis then came back from down 3-0 in the count to strike out Andrew Kendrick, and Blaze Glenn grounded out to end the inning.

YSU was able to get a run across in the second to take a 1-0 lead, but Reklaitis worked out of danger again. He walked Drew Dickerson and Austin Trace on nine pitches to start the inning, and they both advanced on Nick Caruso's sacrifice bunt. Nick LaBrasca's hard liner up the middle brought in Dickerson, but Trace had to stay at third. Reklaitis then got Lucas Nasonti to bounce into an inning-ending double play.

Milwaukee had four singles in the bottom of the second to tie the score at 1-1, and it left the bases loaded in the third when Alex Bellardini came out of the YSU bullpen to get a big strikeout. The Panthers then had the only multi-run inning of the afternoon in the bottom of the fourth when they plated three runs on four hits and two walks to go up 4-1.

Bridis and Wehler hit back-to-back doubles to start the top of the fifth to get the Penguins back within 4-2. Wehler moved to third on a wild pitch, and Glenn walked to give YSU runners at the corners and the go-ahead runner at the plate with one out. The Penguins let Milwaukee off the hook again as Wehler was thrown out at home on a double-steal attempt and Dickerson struck out.

Trevor Schwecke delivered a two-out RBI single in the bottom half of the inning to push the margin back to three at 5-2.

The Penguins had the tying run at the plate with two outs in the sixth and eighth innings but had both innings end with strikeouts.

YSU starter Zach Lopatka did not factor in the decision and handed the ball to Bellardini with one out in the bottom of the third. Five different Penguins took the mound, and Jakob Brustoski and Joel Hake did not allow a run in the sixth through eighth innings.

Elijah Goodman was awarded the win for the Panthers as he allowed one run on two hits over 2.2 innings of relief.

Youngstown State will play a day-night doubleheader on Tuesday at Eastwood Field as it hosts Niagara at 1 p.m. and Bowling Green at 6 p.m.

Baseball 2018 Season Preview
February 6, 2018 Baseball 2018 Season Preview