By Pete Mollica
Freshman Phil Lipari hit a two-out single in the bottom of the ninth inning, scoring freshman Dan Hurlimann from third base with the winning run, as the Youngstown State baseball team posted a 4-3 victory in the nightcap to earn a doubleheader sweep of Butler in Horizon League play Saturday at Eastwood Field.
Senior Phil Klein pitched seven scoreless innings in the opener as the Penguins (8-20, 3-3 Horizon League) backed him with 14 hits and a 5-1 victory.
“These kids are such a close knit group and they are always helping one another and I’m just so happy for them today,” Pasquale added. “They really deserved this sweep.”
The nightcap was a nail-biter as the Penguins fell behind 3-0 in the fourth inning, but pecked away with single runs in the fifth and eighth.
Trailing 3-2 going to the bottom of the ninth, the Penguins opened with a single by senior Joe Iacobucci, who has now hit safely in 15 straight games. Junior Jeremy Banks followed with another single as Iacobucci went to third. Pasquale then brought in pinch-hitter Hurlimann, a freshman who was hitting .094 and after Banks stole second, Hurlimann ripped a double to deep right field that easily scored Iacobucci, but with two perfect throws by Butler, Banks was cut down at home plate.
Another pinch-hitter, Jonathan Crist, then hit a deep fly to center with Hurlimann tagging and moving to third. Lipari, on a 1-1 count, then looped a single into right to win the game.
“I was just looking for something good to hit,” said the former Poland High standout. “It really felt great and these two wins are so big for this team. This is a close group and we knew we were much better than we had been playing.”
Kline pitched into the eighth inning in the opener allowing just four hits and striking out 10 Bulldogs which ran his career strikeout mark to 207 — only the seventh Penguin pitcher to top the 200 mark.
“I try to go out every outing and keep things under control early,” Kline said. “If you go out there and allow two or three runs early on it make it that much tougher for the offense.”
In the nightcap Robert Switka pitched seven innings allowing six hits and striking out four. Bill Turosky and Kevin McCulloh finished the game. McCulloh (2-5) got the win.
After being held in check through most of Friday night’s 15-1 loss, the YSU offense got 14 hits in each of Saturday's games.
“When the pitching is good like it was today the hitting seems to follow,” said Pasquale.