By Kyle Wills
After losing its first five games at Eastwood Field this season, the Youngstown State University baseball team claimed its first home win of 2022 in the series against the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
It was an electric weekend for the Penguin offense as it scored 28 runs in the final two games of the series. The team won two of the contests to take the three-game set.
Youngstown State earned its first win at Eastwood Field this year in game one of the series April 14 with a 4-2 victory over Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Junior infielder Braeden O’Shaughnessy continued his power surge as he hit his second home run of the week in his 2-for-4 performance at the plate. He drove in three of the team’s four runs with two coming from his seventh-inning blast.
Senior Chad Coles backed the Penguins’ offense with seven strong innings on the mound. He battled with command issues as he issued six walks, but only allowed two runs while striking out four in his outing.
Junior Nathan Ball earned his seventh save of the season, recording the last five outs of the ballgame.
Despite scoring double-digit runs in game two Youngstown State couldn’t prevail in the 17-13 defeat. The game featured seven home runs between both teams. However, three errors lead to seven unearned runs for Wisconsin-Milwaukee
The Penguins scored five-straight runs to start the game, but a six-run fifth inning put the Panthers ahead. Wisconsin-Milwaukee added four more in the sixth, but Youngstown State responded with five runs in the seventh.
The Panthers outscored the Penguins 7-2 in the final two frames to take the second game.
Senior infielder Steven D’Eusanio had a career day at the plate, hitting a perfect 6-for-6 in the batter’s box including a double and a solo home run. He tied the school record for most hits in a single game and became only one of two players to notch six in one performance.
D’Eusanio said staying clear-minded and keeping a steady approach has helped lead to his success at the plate.
“I knew I had six hits. To be honest, I had no idea I was going for a school record. Just taking every at-bat for what it is. Not getting in your head about, ‘Oh I got a hit. Now, I have to keep doing it.’ It doesn’t matter.”
Head coach Dan Bertolini was ecstatic to see the senior locked in and barrel up the ball during the series, especially with the time he’s had to miss because of school.
“It’s been difficult because he’s a nursing student, so he’s missing sometimes during the midweek and practices — he hasn’t been able to get to as much,” Bertolini said. “When he’s good, our offense can really go because Braeden’s been getting on base a lot and Lucas [Nasonti] and Pad [O’Shaughnessy]. Those guys, and Seth [Lucero] and [Chase] Franken in front of them, set the table for him.”
Braeden O’Shaughnessy continued his hot week, hitting his third home run of the week. It also marked his third-straight game with a blast. He finished 4-for-6 at the plate while driving in three runs.
His brother, senior infielder Padraig O’Shaughnessy, also had a great day at the top of the lineup, hitting 3-for-6 with four RBIs.
Youngstown State was scorching hot offensively again April 16 despite the early morning rain showers. The team followed up the 13-run, 20-hit performance with 15 runs in the series finale.
Padraig O’Shaughnessy had another monstrous game in the leadoff spot, hitting 2-for-4 with a double and two-run home run while driving in four total.
D’Eusanio, redshirt sophomore Trey Law and redshirt freshman Chase Franken each finished with multi-hit, two-RBI performances.
With a dynamic top half of the lineup, Bertolini thought the bottom half also shined in the series finale.
“Two guys I thought had great days today were Chase Franken and Trey Law. They came up huge for us with big RBIs and two-out hits. Even in that last inning, broke the game open,” Bertolini said.
Junior Matt Brosky continued his dominant junior campaign with his sixth game pitching at least six innings. He finished the afternoon pitching his way in the eighth inning, throwing seven-plus innings while allowing two earned runs and striking out three.
Bertolini said Brosky’s pitching has had a huge impact on the team.
“He didn’t see a whole lot of results early in the season. He was pitching great and wasn’t getting a lot of credit for it. He does a great job for us. It’s good to have him on Sundays because you get that opportunity to win,” Bertolini said.
The baseball team will conclude its 10-game opening homestand April 22 when it welcomes Oakland University to Eastwood Field for a doubleheader before traveling to Wisconsin to take on Wisconsin-Milwaukee, once again, in a doubleheader April 24.