Freshman Arms Pitch Penguins to 4-2 Win Over Pitt

Brandon Matthews (Photo by Rob Hayes)
Brandon Matthews (Photo by Rob Hayes)

Four different Penguins drove in a run, and the Youngstown State baseball team got outstanding efforts from its freshman pitchers in a 4-2 victory at Pittsburgh on Wednesday at Charles L. Cost Field.

YSU earned its second win over a team from the ACC in the last three years, and it beat the Panthers for the first time since the 2014 season.

After taking early leads but failing to hold them against top-10 opponents Mississippi State and Florida State during the opening two weeks of the season, the Penguins got enough offense and the pitching to back it to earn their first victory in 2019. Pitt drops to 6-9 with the loss.

Youngstown State scored the first four runs of the game, and freshman pitchers Brandon Matthews, Brett Souder and Marco DeFalco combined to hold Pitt to one run on six hits over seven innings out of the bullpen.

Offensively, Drew Dickerson went 2-for-3 with a pair of walks, and he scored and drove in a run. Lucas Nasonti, Trevor Wiersma and Dylan Swarmer also had an RBI, and seven different Penguins had a hit. Five of YSU's nine hits went for extra bases, and YSU limited Pitt to seven singles.

The Penguins scored all four of their runs in the first three innings, and Matthews was able to keep them ahead.

Youngstown State jumped on the Panthers with three runs in the second inning on three consecutive hits and a squeeze play to take a 3-0 lead. Web Charles scored the game's first run when he hit a one-out single, stole second and raced home on Dickerson's double to right. Swarmer then brought in Dickerson on a triple off the wall in left center, and Swarmer scored two batters later on Lucas Nasonti's sacrifice bunt.

The Penguins added a run in the top of the third as Blaze Glenn singled and scored on Trevor Wiersma's double. Glenn made a great slide to avoid the tag at the plate to put YSU ahead 4-1.

Matthews came on to start the third inning, and he held Pitt to one run on three hits and one walk over four innings.

YSU had chances to blow the game open but left the bases loaded in both the fifth and sixth innings as Pitt reliever William Kirwan got inning-ending strikeouts both times. The Penguins ran into some hard luck in the sixth when Wehler's deep shot to center bounced over the wall for a ground-rule double, which forced Nasonti to stay at third instead of scoring.

Just as Kirwan was able to get big outs to keep the Panthers in the game, YSU's relievers answered the bell to keep the Penguins ahead.

Pitt loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the sixth, but Matthews was able to minimize the damage and escape by allowing just one run. The freshman side-winder got Pitt cleanup batter David Yanni to pop up to Glenn at third, and an RBI single by Nico Popa followed to account for the Panthers' run in the inning. Matthews then got Sky Duff to foul out to Glenn against the fence with the bases loaded for the third out.

Souder allowed three baserunners in the seventh but escaped scoreless when he got Ron Washington Jr. to ground into a fielder's choice to end the inning. DeFalco then got perhaps the biggest outs of the game in the eighth. DeFalco came on with two runners on and nobody out, and Duff greeted him with a single to load the bases and put the go-ahead run at the plate. The freshman left-hander got Andrews Antonini to ground into a 5-4-3 double play that brought in a run, and DeFalco struck out Gregory Ryan Jr. to end the inning with YSU still ahead 4-2.

DeFalco retired the first two batters in the bottom of the ninth, and the next two Panthers reached before a ground out to Wiersma at first ended the game.

Matthews earned his first collegiate victory, and DeFalco was awarded the save.

Pitt starter Chris Cappas was charged with the loss as he allowed the three runs in the second inning. Derek West allowed the fourth run over 2.2 innings, and Chase Smith blanked the Penguins over the final three innings. Popa finished 2-for-3 with an RBI to lead the Panthers offensively.

Youngstown State will begin Horizon League play with a three-game series at Northern Kentucky this weekend. Game one of the set will begin Friday at 3 p.m., and the contest will be broadcast live on ESPN3.