Niles, Ohio – Steven D'Eusanio's pinch-hit sacrifice fly plated Blaze Glenn in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift the Youngstown State baseball team to a 5-4 victory over Wright State on Saturday at Eastwood Field.
D'Eusanio's game-winner backed two home runs from Dylan Swarmer and another strong start on the mound from Travis Perry. The Penguins led 4-1 after five innings, held the Raiders to single runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings and worked out of a jam in the ninth to set up D'Eusanio's heroics.
It was YSU's third walk-off win of the season, and it evened the three-game series with the league-leading Raiders. Youngstown State is now 12-33 overall and 6-14 in Horizon League play while Wright State drops to 33-14 and 15-8.
Swarmer became the first YSU catcher to hit two home runs in a game in 15 years, and he had two of the Penguins' four hits in the game. Lucas Nasonti and Jeff Wehler also had hits, and Wehler had a key at bat in the ninth that led to the winning run.
Kip DeShields, one of five YSU seniors celebrated prior to the game, got the final five outs of the game to earn his third win of the season. He was on the mound for intense moments in the top of the eighth and ninth innings and watched from the dugout as D'Eusanio, a true freshman, gave him the win on Senior Day.
With the score tied at 4-4 and the bases loaded in the eighth, DeShields came from behind in the count to strike out pinch-hitter Quincy Hamilton to keep the game tied. The senior righty then allowed a single and a walk to start the top of the ninth but worked out of the jam. Peyton Burdick flied into an 8-4 double play to Nasonti, who threw out Tyler Black trying to advance to second. DeShields then got cleanup batter Seth Gray to foul out to end the inning.
In the bottom of the ninth, Glenn led off with a six-pitch walk, and Wehler followed with an 11-pitch battle that resulted in another walk. Wehler was down 0-2 in the count and stayed alive by fouling off five two-strike pitches. Bradley Deboutte got pinch-hitter Zach Farrar to strike out trying to bunt, but Glenn stole third to get the winning run within 90 feet. Wright State elected to intentionally walk Drew Dickerson to load the bases, and D'Eusanio hit the second pitch of his at bat to straightaway center to allow Glenn to score easily.
The Penguins have also had walk-off wins at Eastwood Field this season against Pitt and Kent State.
Three singles led to a run for Wright State in the top of the first, but Perry got a key double play to get out of the inning with minimal damage. JD Orr and Black led off with back-to-back singles, and Orr scored on Gray's one-out single to right. The Raiders had runners at the corners after Gray's single, but Perry was able to minimize the damage by getting Zach Weatherford to ground into an inning-ending 4-3 double play. That double play started a stretch of seven straight outs for Perry.
With Perry settling in, the Penguins did the bulk of their scoring in the bottom of the second inning behind the first of Swarmer's two home runs. Wehler led off with a single to left, and he stole two bases to set up a sacrifice fly by Dickerson that tied the score at 1-1. After the sacrifice fly, Zach Lopatka walked on four pitches, and Swarmer blasted his first career home run to left on an 0-2 pitch to give the Penguins a 3-1 lead.
Wright State had baserunners in every inning after the third, but the Penguins kept the Raiders from having a big inning.
In the top of the fifth, Wright State loaded the bases with two singles and a walk with two outs. Perry was down 3-1 in the count to Black but worked the count back to full, and Wehler made a running catch on a tailing line drive near the left-field line.
Swarmer's second home run of the game led off the bottom of the fifth inning, and it stayed just inside the left-field foul pole to put YSU up 4-1. Prior to that swing, the last YSU catcher to hit two home runs in a game was Adam Cox on March 15, 2004, at Xavier.
Wright State started its stretch of three straight innings with a run in the sixth when Burdick led off with a single and scored. The Raiders had runners at second and third with nobody out, but Perry struck out Weatherford for the first out and he was able to escape allowing just one run with a sacrifice fly.
In the top of the seventh, pinch-hitter Damon Dues drew a leadoff walk, and a throwing error put runners on second and third again for Wright State with nobody out. Dues scored on Orr's ground out, and the Penguins caught a break when pinch-runner Gehrig Anglin was called out on an appeal on a would-be sacrifice fly. Anglin had beaten the throw from Wehler in left for what appeared to be the tying run, but YSU appealed that he left early and the run was taken off the board.
Burdick walked off YSU reliever Dalton Earich to start the top of the eighth, and Weatherford was hit by a pitch with one out to put two runners on. DeShields came on to get Zane Harris to pop out for the second out, but Chase Slone tied the score with a line drive single just past an outstretched Glenn at third base. DeShields struck out Hamilton with the bases loaded to keep the game tied.
Perry allowed just two earned runs on seven hits over six innings, and he struck out four batters. It was another outstanding outing at Eastwood Field for Perry, who has allowed eight runs over 26.1 innings in his four home starts this season. He left with a 4-2 lead. Earich did not allow a hit in his 1.1 innings but was charged with two runs, one of which was unearned.
Wright State starter Bradley Brehmer allowed four runs on four hits over seven innings, and Deboutte did not allow a hit but walked three batters over 1.2 innings.
The Penguins will try to win the series against the Raiders on Sunday at 1 p.m.