The second game was wiped out by rain.
By PETE MOLLICA
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
AKRON -- YSU baseball coach Mike Florak knows his team is young and inexperienced, and needs to play as much as possible.
So far, Mother Nature isn't cooperating.
Florak's Penguins made plenty of mistakes here Tuesday, dropping a 10-2 contest to Akron. The second game of a doubleheader was wiped out by rain after three innings with the Zips leading 1-0.
"What they need most is to play and we've already lost nine games this season to the weather," Florak said.
Tuesday, the Penguins were belted by the Zips, giving up 14 hits.
Still, Florak is excited about his team.
"We're young, but there is a lot of talent there," Florak said. "Right now, they are making so many mental mistakes."
Junior pitcher Corey Ohalek started for the Penguins and went the first three innings, allowing just two runs, one of them unearned, on five hits.
Florak went the rest of the way with three freshmen pitchers: Jonathon Smart, Andrew Daly and Mike Hosterman. The Zips jumped on the youngsters for eight runs and nine hits over the final four innings.
The Penguins (6-9) open Horizon League play at 1 p.m. Friday against Illinois-Chicago at Cafaro Field in Niles.
Of YSU's top five hitters to date, three are freshmen and two are sophomores.
"The talent is there, they just need to learn more about the game right now," Florak said.
Early lead: YSU took a 1-0 lead when sophomore centerfielder Kendall Schlabach led off the game with an infield single and stole second.
Schlabach was sacrificed to third by junior Ty Furino and scored on a wild pitch by Akron's starter and winning pitcher Zack McKinney.
The Zips tied the score in the bottom of the first off Ohalek when Brady Steineck doubled deep to center field and scored on Jim Gemler's single to left.
The Penguins blew a big opportunity in the top of the second when freshman catcher Adam Cox doubled to right and junior Clint Ford singled up the middle with Cox holding at third.
After Mark Nightingale struck out, freshman Kyle Penrod hit a sharp grounder that was heading for the hole between first and second. But the ball hit Ford in the foot for the second out and Cox had to return to third. Senior James Swearengen grounded out to end the inning.
The Penguins were still in the game after four innings trailing just 4-1, but the Zips rallied for six runs to break the contest open.
Smart, who came in to pitch in the fourth, started the sixth but gave up a double to Greg Kulick, a walk, an RBI single to Steineck and then hit Gemler before giving way to Daly.
Rough spot: Daly faced three batters giving up a single and then walked home two runs before Florak brought in Hosterman.
Hosterman allowed a single and a double before finally retiring the side.
YSU's only other run came in the sixth inning when freshman Tim Stacey, the team's top hitter with a .425 average, singled and sophomore Jim Lipinski followed with a double off the left field wall. Stacey scored when Cox grounded out to third base.
The Penguins had six hits and stranded seven. Three of the six hits were doubles by Cox, Lipinski and Swearengen.
YSU had two hits in the first three innings of the second game, a single by Stacey and another by Swearengen.
Akron scored its run in the second inning behind a double by Craig Welch before rain ended play.