Penguins Win Home Opener, Split Saturday's Doubleheader with Oakland

Drew Dickerson (Photo by Rob Hayes)
Drew Dickerson (Photo by Rob Hayes)

The Youngstown State baseball team split a doubleheader with Oakland on Saturday at Eastwood Field to begin a three-game Horizon League series. The Penguins battled back from a five-run deficit to win their 2019 home opener 6-5 before dropping game two 7-5 in 11 innings.

The Penguins move to 2-19 overall and 1-4 in the Horizon League play with Saturday's results while the Golden Grizzlies are now 1-18 and 1-4.

Game 1 | PDF Box Score

Oakland plated five runs over the first three innings to take an early lead before YSU scored six unanswered runs over the fifth and sixth to earn a 6-5 win in its first home game of 2019 at Eastwood Field.

Kip DeShields, Brandon Matthews and Brett Souder combined to toss 3.2 innings of scoreless relief to shut down Oakland's bats and help secure YSU's second win of the season. 

DeShields entered in the sixth with one out and runners at second and third, and got a strikeout and a fielder's choice to keep the Penguins within a run. Matthews allowed just one hit over two scoreless frames, and Souder closed things out in the ninth. DeShields picked up his first win of 2019, and Souder earned the first save of his career.

The Golden Grizzlies outhit the Penguins 12-4, but walked nine batters and committed five errors as only three of YSU's runs were earned. Jeff Wehler walked twice, stole two bases and hit an RBI double while Lucas Nasonti singled, drove in a pair and scored a run. Web Charles recorded an RBI single and scored two runs, and Drew Dickerson also had a base hit and scored twice. YSU drew a season-best nine walks, and matched its season high with six runs scored.

Myles Zilinsky, Mario Camilletti and Jace Matkin each had two hits to pace Oakland offensively.

The Penguins matched their season high with five stolen bases, swiping at least two bags for the sixth straight contest. Wehler led the way with two steals, and Charles, Dickerson and Nasonti each had one. After stealing a team-high 25 bases last season, Wehler now has 10 this season, and ranks ninth in YSU history with 35 in his career.

The Golden Grizzlies got runners to second and third after a pair of singles in the top of the first inning, but a rare 1-3-4-2 double play allowed the Penguins to avoid any damage. Oakland again got runners to second and third with one out in the second inning. Clark struck out Ronnie Krsolovic for the second out, but a two-out error allowed Drew Demumbrum to score and give the visitors an early 1-0 lead.

Oakland sent nine batters to the plate in the top of the third as Mike McGee led off with a single, and Camilletti and Matt Dileo followed with back-to-back walks to load the bases. A fielder's choice to left field allowed McGee to score the first run of the inning. Another walk loaded the bases again before Ryan Fitzgerald brought home a run with a sacrifice fly. The Golden Grizzlies then scored two more times on the Penguins' second error of the day to extend their lead to 5-0.

The Penguins sent 10 batters to the plate in the bottom of the fifth, and scored four runs on one hit, four walks and two errors to get back within a run. Dickerson reached on a out-out error to get things started, and Steven D'Eusanio and Charles each walked in consecutive at bats to load the bases. YSU's first run came when Nasonti reached on a throwing error, and Phillp Glasser followed with a sacrifice fly to plate another. Wehler then sent an RBI double down the right field line to reduce the Oakland lead to 5-4.

Dickerson got another rally started in the sixth with a leadoff single. After stealing second base and reaching third on a wild pitch, Dickerson scored on an RBI single from Charles to tie the contest. Charles then swiped second himself before scoring what proved to be the winning run on an RBI single from Nasonti.

YSU stater Colin Clark surrendered five runs, two of them earned, on 10 hits over 5.1 innings. Cameron Fuller took the loss after allowing two runs on three hits in one inning of relief. Oakland starter Nick Parr permitted four runs, one earned, on just one hit in 4.2 innings.

With the win, Youngstown State earned its first win in a home opener since the 2012 season.

Game 2 | PDF Box Score

Oakland scored two runs in the top of the 11th inning to earn a 7-5 win and a split of Saturday's doubleheader. The lead changed hands four times and the score was tied on two different occasions.

Youngstown State set a new season high with 11 hits in the game, but left 12 runners on base. Dickerson recorded careers highs with four hits and two stolen bases to lead the Penguins on offense. The senior doubled, scored a run and drove one home. Blaze Glenn, Nasonti, Dylan Swarmer and Trevor Wiersma each added an RBI , and Nasonti collected two base hits.

In his second start of the season, freshman left-hander Marco DeFalco was charged with two runs, one earned, on just three hits over a career high six innings. Dalton Earich pitched 4.2 strong innings of relief, but suffered the loss after giving up the deciding runs in the 11th. He allowed two runs on four hits and struck out three batters.

Earich retired the first six batters he faced, and sat down the Golden Grizzlies in order in the eighth and 10th innings. Travis Perry was responsible for three runs on two hits and two walks in a third of an inning before Earich entered.

Demumbrum had four of Oakland's nine hits, going for 4-for-6 with a home run, a double, a run scored and five RBIs.

The Golden Grizzlies took an early lead for the second straight game by scoring once on three walks in the top of the first inning. McGee came home on a passed ball with the bases loaded to put his team ahead 1-0.

The Penguins answered by scoring twice on three hits with two outs in the bottom of the second. Dickerson singled, stole second and reached third on a throwing error. Swarmer followed with an RBI single to left field to even the game at a run apiece. After Charles drew a free pass, Swarmer was able to race home on an RBI single by Nasonti to put YSU in front 2-1.

The score remained the same until Demumbrum hit a solo home run to lead off the top of the sixth inning and tie the game 2-2.

YSU scored once on two hits in the sixth to regain the lead. Wiersma walked with one out and moved to third on a two-out single from Zach Lopatka. Dickerson followed with an RBI single up the middle to give the Penguins their second lead of the game at 3-2.

Oakland fought back to grab the edge again with three runs on just one hit in the top of the seventh. With the bases loaded, Demumbrum delivered a two-run single and another run scored on a wild pitch to produce a 5-3 Oakland advantage.

The Penguins responded immediately in the home half as Charles reached on a leadoff single and Nasonti moved him up 90 feet with a sacrifice bunt. Glasser followed with a walk and Wehler singled to load the bases. Wiersma drew a free pass to bring in a run, and Glenn tied the game 5-5 with a sacrifice fly to left that scored Glasser.

The game remained tied until the top of the 11th when Demumbrum came through for the Golden Grizzlies once again. This time, the junior first baseman hit a two-out, two-run double to the gap in left center with runners on second and third to put Oakland ahead for good 7-5.

YSU got the winning run to the plate in the bottom of the 11th after a Wehler walk and Wiersma single, but Oakland reliever Austin Sherry got Glenn to fly out to end the game. Sherry allowed just two hits over 3.2 innings of scoreless relief to earn the victory.

The Penguins and Golden Grizzlies will conclude their three-game Horizon League series tomorrow afternoon with a single game beginning at 1 p.m. The contest will be broadcast live at YSNLive.com.