COLLEGE BASEBALL Penguins rally past Akron
YSU scored six times in the fifth inning and added four more in the eighth in its 11-7 victory.
By TOM WILLIAMS
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
STRUTHERS -- Trailing by five runs halfway through Wednesday's game against the University of Akron, Youngstown State's baseball team didn't panic.
"We knew our sticks would come around eventually," said No. 9 hitter Josh Page, who sparked a six-run fifth-inning rally with a one-out walk against Zips starter Pat Gliha.
The Penguins (16-13) posted another rally with four runs in the eighth inning for an 11-7 win at Cene Park.
"We felt it was just a matter of time because we have been hitting the ball well since we came back from our spring trip," said Page, who had three of YSU's 12 hits. "That was my best game so far."
Coach praises Libeg
Kevin Libeg (3-3) of Hubbard earned the win by pitching the seventh and eighth innings, allowing one run. Ryan Sellman retired the Zips in order in the ninth.
"Libeg's been great for us out of the bullpen, very unselfish," YSU coach Mike Florak said. "I know he wants to start, but that's the role he's kind of grown in to, and he gives us a huge lift every time he comes in."
Page said the victory felt especially sweet considering YSU's loss at Cleveland State in their last game.
"We had a four-run lead going into the ninth and it slipped away from us," Page said.
Not this time.
"Sometimes we start off slow, but we know we always have enough guts to pull us through," Florak said. "Josh didn't start off the season playing, but he's just a little monster in there."
Page's RBI triple in the eighth inning was the key hit. Three Zips errors proved costly as Page scored the Penguins' 10th run when Tony Samad made a wild pickoff attempt to first base.
Early on, the Zips appeared to be on the way to a romp.
Andy Capraruolo of Boardman led off the game with a triple. He tripled again in the third inning and scored the Zips' first two runs.
"I just worked the count a little bit and got a pitch up," said Capraruolo of his first at-bat against YSU starter Brian Boone. "My job is to get on base and let our (Nos.) two, three and four hitters see some pitches."
After Page walked in the fifth inning, J.D. Hannan singled and Brandon Caipen walked to load the bases.
Three-run double by Schultz
Akron coach Tim Berenyi stuck with Ghila, and Charles Schultz responded by clearing the bases with a double down the right-field line to reduce Akron's lead to 6-4.
Justin Banks followed with a double that went just inside of third base to score Schultz. Banks took third on Jim Phillips' groundout,
Berenyi pulled Ghila for Steve Williams. Two pitches later, the Penguins had the lead.
First, Williams tossed a wild pitch that sent Banks home with the tying run.
"It actually hit my left foot," batter Dustin Thomas said, "but I didn't say anything because Banks scored. Luckily, I [then] got to hit away."
Thomas hit Williams' next pitch over the right-field fence for YSU's 7-6 lead.
"I was looking for a fastball, but I got a changeup inside and I just turned on it," Thomas said of his third homer of the season.
Saturday, the Penguins will play a doubleheader at Ashland University. The Penguins and Eagles will play another twinbill Sunday at 2 p.m. at Eastwood Field.
Akron is 11-19.
"We've been struck by the injury bug so we've just got to keep plugging away," Capraruolo said.