Baseball steals first two wins of the season

By John Ostapowicz / The Jambar

After a 15-game losing streak, the Youngstown State University baseball team secured its first two wins of the season over the University of Pittsburgh and Purdue University Fort Wayne.

Pitt, a Power Five opponent, stood at 9-4 overall prior to the matchup against the Penguins. The Panthers earned notable wins over the University of Washington, the University of Oklahoma and the University of California.

Originally slated for Feb. 28, the game was rescheduled for March 13. Youngstown State toppled Pitt, 7-6, in extra-innings.

YSU found success at the Charles L. Cost Field in Pittsburgh in its past four meetings with the Panthers, maintaining a 4-0 record on the road — a streak that started March 13, 2019.

In this season’s matchup, the Penguins scored three runs in the top of the first inning before the Panthers advanced two runners to home in the top of the second inning. Youngstown State owned a 6-3 advantage in the ninth inning, but Pitt scored three runs to force an extra inning.

Redshirt senior Trey Law led the way for the Penguins, as he went 4-for-5 to go along with a double and four runs scored. In the 10th inning, freshman Chris Domke pitched a one-out single to secure the team’s first victory of the season.

With the win, YSU picked up its seventh victory over an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent during head coach Dan Bertolini’s tenure.

Youngstown State returned home from March 15 to 17 at Eastwood Field in Niles for the first time this season as it began Horizon League play.

Over a three-game series, YSU earned its home-opening victory over Purdue Fort Wayne, but the Mastodons claimed the series, 2-1.

In game one, junior Jacob Gehring, a transfer from Ohio State University, pitched throughout eight innings and only allowed two total runs to earn the 4-2 win.

Offensively, junior Teddy Ruffner hit a three-run double in the third inning to give the Penguins a 3-0 advantage. Ruffner finished 2-for-4 with three runs batted in, while freshman Alejandro Covas added the last run against the Mastodons.

Purdue Fort Wayne evened the series in game two, 13-3. The Mastodons out-hit the Penguins 19-4 to go along with a two-run home run in the top of the sixth inning.

In the final game of the series, Purdue Fort Wayne stole five bases and recorded 16 hits en route to a 18-5 victory over Youngstown State.

Despite the loss, Covas shined in the outing, as he tied the single-game school record with two triples and set a new career high with three hits. He also went 3-for-4 with an RBI and scored a run.

Youngstown State planned to round out its four-game homestand March 19 against Mid-American Conference opponent Bowling Green State University, but the game was canceled because of weather conditions.

The Penguins will restart conference play at home from March 22 to 24 against Oakland University and will act as the visiting team.