The Vikings led the whole way in the 6-4 win.
By PETE MOLLICA
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
NILES -- Mistakes were costly for the young Youngstown State University baseball team Friday night.
The Penguins committed three errors, two in a two-run fifth inning that helped Cleveland State post a 6-4 victory in a Horizon League contest at Cafaro Field.
The Penguins (9-15, 3-3 Horizon) never led in the contest but battled to stay in the game with some timely hitting. Sophomore first baseman Jim Lipinski had three hits, including two doubles.
YSU finished with 10 hits, but the Vikings (8-20, 3-3) managed 12 hits off three Penguin pitchers.
The Vikings jumped on YSU starter Chris Dennis for a run in the first inning as Dom Erney singled home Pat Smith with the game's first run.
The Penguins came back to tie the score in the bottom of the first on three straight singles by freshman Adam Cox, Lipinski and freshman Jim Phillips.
Back and forth
Cleveland State regained the lead in the fifth with a two-run rally as Ben Smith led off with a single, stole second and advanced to third when Cox's throw went into center field.
Smith scored on Tom Allen's single to right and then Pat Smith reached on a throwing error by James Swearengen at shortstop. Doug Besozzi doubled home Allen with a shot down the left-field line.
The Penguins got one run back in their half of the fifth as sophomore Kendall Schlabach tripled with one out to right field and scored when Cox grounded out to short.
The Vikings added a run in the seventh when Allen doubled down the third-base line, went to third on a passed ball and scored on Pat Smith's sacrifice fly to right.
In the eighth inning the Vikings plated two more runs, these off reliever Todd Tscherne, who came in for Dennis in the fifth inning.
Erney singled to lead off the inning and went to second on a wild pitch. He scored on Brian Beaumier's single in the hole at short.
The Penguins tried to get Erney at home, but the throw was late and then Cox threw wildly to second base attempting to get Beaumier, who ended up on third base. He scored on a two-out single by Stipe Miocic.
The Penguins narrowed the gap in their half of the eighth as Lipinski doubled to lead off, Phillips was hit by a pitch and Clint Ford singled to load the bases.
Pinch hitter Matt Speas was then hit by a pitch to force in one run, while the second run scored on Kyle Penrod's sacrifice fly to left field. Swearengen then hit into a double play to end the inning.
The Penguins tried to get something going in the ninth as Ty Furino led off with a walk, but was forced at second by Schlabach. Viking relief pitcher Eric Zizelman then struck out the next two batters to save the win.
The game ended with a big argument between YSU head coach Mike Florak and the umpires over the final strike, which was a foul tip by Lipinski. Florak said the ball hit the dirt, but the umpires ruled that catcher Doug Besozzi caught the ball cleanly.
The two teams will meet in a doubleheader today beginning at 1 p.m. at Cafaro Field.