Penguins Drop Two Close Games to NKU on Thursday

Jeff Wehler (Photo by Rob Hayes)
Jeff Wehler (Photo by Rob Hayes)

The Youngstown State baseball team got the tying run to the plate in the ninth inning in both games of a doubleheader, but Northern Kentucky held on in both contests to sweep a doubleheader 10-8 and 7-6 on Thursday at Eastwood Field.

YSU dropped to 8-31 overall and 4-13 in Horizon League play, and Northern Kentucky improved to 10-27 and 8-9.

Jeff Wehler had five hits in the doubleheader to lead the Penguins, who had 25 hits overall on the day. Trevor Wiersma also had two hits in each contest.

Game 1 | PDF Box Score

Northern Kentucky used a late-inning surge to earn a 10-8 victory over Youngstown State in a game one of Thursday's doubleheader.

After NKU jumped in front with a four-run first inning, YSU responded by scoring five times over the next three frames to take the lead. However, the visitors went on to score seven runs over the final four innings to seize control. The Penguins made it interesting with a three-run eighth, but ultimately dropped their fourth straight game to the Norse.

YSU outhit NKU 14-12, and each team had eight different players record a hit in a game that featured plenty of offense. The contest featured 14 hits and nine runs through the first four innings alone.

Phillip Glasser and Wehler each had three hits to lead the Penguins. Glasser hit a pair of doubles and drove in three runs, and Wehler doubled and scored twice. Cameron Murray and Wiersma each recorded two hits, and Murray added two RBIs.

Andrew Bacon, Griffin Doersching, Preston Pilat and Jayden Wakeham each had two hits for Northern Kentucky. Wakeham notched three RBIs and Pilat hit his first home run of the season.

After Colin Clark retired the first two batters in the top of the first inning, Doersching hit a two-out double, Bacon walked and Jake Murray reached on catcher's interference to load the bases. Wakeham then delivered a two-run single, and Collin Luty followed with a two-run double to put NKU ahead 4-0.

Wiersma led off the bottom of the second inning with a single, and Wehler hit a one-out single to put two on the base paths. In the next at bat, Jake Murray cut the NKU lead in half with a two-run double to deep right center field. After Jake Murray stole third and Dylan Swarmer walked, Web Charles drove in YSU's third run with a sacrifice fly to right field.

Glasser hit a leadoff double in the home half of the third, and Blaze Glenn followed with an RBI single up the middle to even the score 4-4. The Penguins took their first lead of the game in the bottom of the fourth when Charles reached on a bloop double to center field and scored on a single by Glasser.

The Norse scored an unearned run on a two-out error the sixth, and regained the lead with three runs on three hits and an error in the seventh. Sam Hedges hit a leadoff single and Doersching walked to set up an RBI single by Bacon. Wakeham then recorded an RBI single of his own, and the third run of the inning scored on an ensuing throwing error.

Northern Kentucky pushed its advantage to 9-5 when Pilat hit a solo home run to left field in the top of the eighth inning.

Youngstown State answered with three runs on three hits in the bottom of the eighth. Wehler hit a leadoff double, and eventually scored on a wild pitch. After Charles drew a two-out walk, Lucas Nasonti singled and Glasser followed with a two-run double to right center to bring the Penguins within a run.

NKU added an insurance run in the top of ninth when Bacon hit a leadoff double, and scored on a throwing error following a single by Jake Murray. YSU got the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth after Wiersma doubled to begin the inning, but NKU reliever Joe Martin retired the next three hitters to close it out.

Northern Kentucky starter Sam Williams got the victory after allowing five runs on 10 hits and striking out five over six innings. Kaleb Meeks gave up three runs in his 1.2 innings of relief, and Martin permitted just one hit over 1.1 scoreless innings to earn his fourth save.

Clark departed with a runner aboard and the game tied 5-5 in the seventh, and suffered the loss after being responsible for the go-ahead run. After giving up the four-run first inning, the sophomore left-hander settled down to allow just one earned run on four hits over his final 5.1 innings of work.

Brett Souder surrendered three runs, two of them earned, on three hits in 1.2 innings, and Kip DeShields allowed a run on two hits in the ninth.

Game 2 | PDF Box Score

Northern Kentucky scored six of its seven runs with two outs, and the Norse got four solid innings from its bullpen as it beat the Penguins 7-6 in game two of the doubleheader.

NKU scored five two-out runs in the first two innings, and it got another two-out insurance run in the eighth inning that proved to be key in the one-run victory.

With two outs in the top of the first inning, Bacon singled in Hedges for the game's first run, and Jake Murray followed with a triple down the left-field line. Murray tried to stretch the hit into an inside-the-park home run, but he was caught in a rundown between third and home and was tagged out to end the inning.

Youngstown State countered with three runs in the bottom half to take its only lead of game two at 3-2. Nasonti led off with a double, and, after advancing on a wild pitch, scored on a sacrifice fly by Glenn. Wiersma then walked to reach base for the first of three times in the contest, and he scored from first on Drew Dickerson's two-out double. Dickerson advanced to third on another wild pitch, and Wehler walked to put runners at the corners. Wehler stole second, and the catcher's throw went into center field to allow Dickerson to score the go-ahead run.

NKU answered with three runs on three hits and a pair of walks in the second to go up 5-3, and the Norse led the rest of the game. Hedges tied the game with a sacrifice fly, and Will Haueter delivered a two-out, two-run double to put the Norse ahead. Northern Kentucky extended its lead to 6-3 when Bacon hit a solo home run to left center in the top of the fifth.

YSU trimmed two runs off the deficit in the bottom of the fifth when Zach Lopatka drove in Glenn and Wiersma with a bases-loaded single with two outs. Glenn had reached on a single off the third base bag, and Wiersma followed with a double. Wehler walked on four pitches to set up Lopatka's two RBIs.

The score remained 6-5 until Northern Kentucky's insurance run in the eighth. Hedges led off with a bunt single, and he advanced to third on a walk and a stolen base. Bacon then plated him with a sacrifice fly to deep left to make the score 7-5.

Youngstown State went down in order in the eighth, but it had the go-ahead run at the plate in the ninth. Wiersma started the rally with a one-out single, and Dickerson reached on an error that allowed Wiersma to advance to third. The Norse got a big out when catcher Collin Hohman threw out pinch-runner Zach Farrar at second base as he tried to advance on a ball in the dirt, and Wehler followed with an RBI double down the right-field line that scored Wiersma. Cameron Murray put a charge into the first pitch of the next at bat, but the fly ball was run down in right center for the final out.

YSU starter Marco DeFalco allowed five runs over 3.1 innings in the losing effort. Brandon Matthews allowed two runs over 4.1 innings of relief, and Chad Coles got four outs without allowing a run.

Kyle Service was awarded the win for Northern Kentucky as he allowed five runs, four of which were earned, on seven hits over five innings. He got a big strikeout to end the fifth inning and keep the Norse ahead, but he was ejected from the game immediately after for taunting. Noah Richardson came on to blank the Penguins over the next three innings, and Martin came on again to get his second save of the day.

Youngstown State and Northern Kentucky are scheduled to conclude their three-game series on Friday at 3 p.m. Any weather-related schedule updates will be announced first on the @YSUBaseball Twitter account and on YSUsports.com.