Penguins Drop One-Run Contest to Milwaukee on Kids Day

Steven D'Eusanio (Photo by Rob Hayes)
Steven D'Eusanio (Photo by Rob Hayes)

The Youngstown State baseball team dropped a one-run decision to Milwaukee for the second straight game as it fell 5-4 on Friday afternoon at Eastwood Field. More than 3,000 area students attended the contest as part of the annual Kids Day Game presented by Akron Children's Hospital Mahoning Valley.

The Panthers struck first with two runs on the top of the third inning before the Penguins took their only lead with three in the fourth. The lead changed hands again when Milwaukee plated two in the fifth, and YSU tied it by scoring once in the sixth. The Panthers scored an unearned run in the seventh to grab the lead for good.

Blaze Glenn and Steven D'Eusanio both had a pair of hits, and Jeff Wehler registered two RBIs to lead the Penguins offensively. Wehler increased his RBI total for the week to nine, and he also became just the second player in program history to steal 30 bases in a season. Coming into the day, only 17 players in the country had stolen at least 30 bases in 2019.

Mike Ferri was 2-for-3 with a home run and three RBIs for Milwaukee.

YSU starter Travis Perry pitched the first five innings and allowed four runs on seven hits while striking out three batters in a no-decision. Gary Clift Jr. pitched a shutout sixth inning but was charged with the unearned run in the seventh that proved to be the difference.

Perry picked off a Milwaukee baserunner at first base in each of the first two innings, and he has now picked off three runners this season. Only eight other Penguins have picked off at least three runners in a season since 2000. The last YSU pitcher to pick off two runners in a game was Collin Floyd on May 19, 2017, on Kids Day against Rider.

Perry walked Mitchell Buban and Matt Quartel, the bottom two batters in Milwaukee's order, to start the top of the third, and both of them scored. Devin Rybacki followed the two walks with a single to load the bases with nobody out, and Buban scored from third on a wild pitch. Quartel then beat a throw to the plate on a ground out to third when he waited for Blaze Glenn to throw to first to put the Panthers up 2-0.

YSU had just one baserunner – Glenn on a two-out single in the first – through the first three innings before it had four hits and a walk as it scored three runs in the fourth. Phillip Glasser and Glenn hit back-to-back singles to start the inning, and Wehler followed with a two-run double to right center that tied the game. Wehler then stole third for his 30th steal of the season, and he scored the go-ahead run when he came in on a 6-4-3 double play.

Milwaukee starter Mike Edwards allowed just one hit over the first three innings, and he had retired seven straight batters before YSU's three-run rally in the fourth.

The Penguin lead was short-lived as Milwaukee went back on top three batters into the top of the fifth. Quartel led off with double to right, and Ferri's second home run of the season put the Panthers up 4-3.

YSU got a runner in scoring position with nobody out in the bottom of the fifth when Web Charles drew a leadoff walk and reached second on a failed pickoff attempt. However, UWM reliever Matt Vanek picked off Charles at second base to kill a potential rally.

Another stolen base helped the Penguins tie the score at 4-4 in the bottom of the sixth. Trevor Wiersma hit a one-out single to right, and a great jump allowed him to steal second without a throw. Wiersma then scored when D'Eusanio fisted a soft line drive under Buban's glove at second base for an RBI single.

Milwaukee regained the lead in the next half inning again as it plated an unearned run in the top of the seventh. Rybacki reached on an error to start the inning, and Ferri popped up a bunt that escaped a diving Glenn at third base for a base hit to put two runners on. Clift Jr. retired the next two batters, but Tyler Bordner hit an 0-2 pitch up the middle for an RBI single that plated Rybacki and made the score 5-4.

Vanek retired the Penguins in order in the bottom of the seventh, and he got the first out of the eighth before walking Wehler as his final batter of the game. Milwaukee closer Jake Sommers came on and retired Wiersma and Drew Dickerson to end the eighth, and he set the Penguins down in order in the ninth.

Vanek was awarded his seventh win after giving up just one run on two hits over 3.1 innings of relief. Sommers recorded his 10th save and his second of the series.

Youngstown State will conclude the regular season on Saturday against Milwaukee at noon at Eastwood Field. Seniors and recent graduates Kip DeShields and Joel Hake will be presented with their diplomas in a special ceremony before the game.