Starter Patrick O’Brien allowed one run on two hits in six innings, and the Youngstown State baseball team held off Samford in the late innings for a 6-4 victory in the series finale on Sunday afternoon.
O’Brien allowed just two hits and did not walk a batter while striking out four. Kris Moules scored twice and drove in two runs, and Mike Accardi and Drew Dosch had two hits apiece as the Penguins out-hit the Bulldogs 9-6.
The win was the first for Youngstown State under first-year head coach Steve Gillispie.
“It’s a great credit to our kids to play as well as they did today after thing went so poorly the previous two games,” Gillispie said. “Patrick and Josh accomplished their jobs and set things up for [closer] Nic [Manuppelli] to do his. Offensively, I think today was a glimpse of what this team can become later in the season.”
YSU got an unearned run in the first to go up 1-0, but Samford scored its only run of the day off O’Brien in the bottom of the first when C.K. Irby and Phillip Ervin hit back-to-back doubles. YSU’s senior right-hander did not allow another base-runner over the next five innings.
Samford starter Patrick McGavin kept pace with O’Brien until the Penguins broke through for two runs in the sixth. Dosch led off with a single, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored the go-ahead run on a Moules double. Marcus Heath then brought in Moules with a triple to center to make the score 3-1 in favor of YSU.
After Josh North threw a scoreless seventh in relief of O’Brien, the Penguins pushed their advantage to 6-1 in the top of the eighth. Moules scored on a one-out throwing error by the catcher on a double steal, and Phil Lipari singled in Kevin Hix. Following a single by David Saluga that loaded the bases, Padraic Williams brought in Josh White with a sacrifice fly.
North allowed a single, a walk and a double to start the eighth, and Manuppelli came in with two runners on and nobody out. Manuppelli threw a wild pitch that allowed Christiaan Durdaller to score, but he stopped the immediate threat with back-to-back ground outs and kept the lead at 6-4. Ervin then walked and Irby singled, but Manuppelli struck out Caleb Bryson looking to end the inning.
Manuppelli worked around a one-out single in the ninth to earn his first save.
Youngstown State will play two games against both Wake Forest and West Virginia next weekend in Winston-Salem, N.C.