Penguins Eliminated From Horizon League Tournament After 3-1 Loss to Milwaukee

Dalton Earich (Photo by Chris Kilroy)
Dalton Earich (Photo by Chris Kilroy)

Third-seeded Milwaukee used a dominant pitching performance by starter Jared Reklaitis to earn a 3-1 win and eliminate the Youngstown State baseball team from the 2018 Horizon League Baseball Championship on Thursday evening at Nischwitz Stadium.

The Penguins suffered their first loss of the tournament earlier in the day to top-seeded Wright State. YSU's 2018 season comes to an end after going 1-2 in three games played for the week.

Reklaitis allowed one unearned run on just four hits and struck out 15 in a complete game victory. He recorded six strikeouts through his first three innings and was up to 10 after five. The right-hander surrendered one hit over his first seven innings and retired 19 of the first 22 hitters he faced. He also faced the minimum in five different stanzas. 

Milwaukee had seven hits through three innings, but had just one run to show for it as YSU starter Dalton Earich was able to avoid giving up a big inning to keep his team in the game. Earich ended up suffering the loss after handing the ball to the bullpen after three innings of work.

Blaze Glenn led the Penguins on offense with a single and his third double in three tournament contests. Nick Caruso and Web Charles each singled in the contest as well.

After a strikeout to begin the bottom of the first inning, the Panthers strung together four straight base knocks and took a 1-0 lead on an RBI single by Mike Ferri. With the bases loaded, Jeff Wehler made a leaping catch on a liner and flipped to Drew Dickerson at second base to turn a double play and minimize the damage. 

Devin Rybacki led off the bottom of the third with a single but was thrown out at second base by Caruso after he recovered a wild pitch. After Trevor Schwecke walked, Colin Kreiter and Ferri hit back-to-back singles to load the bases but Earich induced two straight comebackers to get out of another sticky situation. 

After a walk and an error which should have ended the inning, Rybacki sent a two-run double down the left field line in the home half of the sixth to increase the UWM advantage to 3-0.

Caruso reached on a one-out single in the bottom of the eighth and Charles hit a single of his own two batters later. Caruso was able to score YSU's lone run after Rybacki misplayed the ball in center field.

Joel Hake and Jakob Brustoski combined to toss 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief down the stretch to keep the Penguins within striking distance. Glenn also threw out a runner at the plate with a laser throw from right field in the bottom of the eighth to end the inning and keep the deficit at two.

YSU made things interesting in the ninth as Nick Massey drew a leadoff walk and Dickerson singled to get the potential tying run aboard with two outs. The runners moved to second and third on a wild pitch but Reklaitis registered his third punch out of the inning to end the game.

The Penguins finish the 2018 season with an overall record of 18-37. Milwaukee now advances on in the loser's bracket to face the loser of No. 1 Wright State and No. 2 UIC, who play Friday at noon.

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