By John Ostapowicz
The Youngstown State University men’s baseball team had a rough start in Edinburg, Texas, against its out-of-conference opponent The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley on March 4.
The Penguins lost their series opener 6-4 as the team tried to stage a comeback in the sixth inning of the ball game but fell short. The Vaqueros got off to a hot 6-0 start, scoring twice in the first inning and extending the team’s lead after a two-out grand slam to end the fourth inning.
In the sixth inning, Youngstown State went to work as it scored four runs to cut into the deficit and keep the game within reach for the team.
Junior infielder Braeden O’Shaughnessy hit a stellar home run and finished the game with two hits. Both junior outfielder Andre Good and senior catcher Dylan Swarmer also found success as they finished with two hits each.
Sophomore infielder Seth Lucero and senior Steven D’Eusanio were also credited for a single hit that helped Youngstown State stay competitive throughout the game.
On the mound, redshirt senior pitcher Jon Snyder was charged with five runs, one of which was unearned, on three hits and three walks. He continued his performance by striking out seven batters in only 3.1 innings.
Junior pitcher Casey Marshalwitz also got his time to shine as he got the final two outs in the fourth inning. He was credited for allowing the two-out grand slam that put Rio Grande up by six.
On March 5, Youngstown State was still unable to find success dropping both games of a thrilling doubleheader. The Penguins fell 8-4 in game one and dropped game two 11-8.
Despite the losses, the O’Shaughnessy brothers went to work as they each had their moments in both games.
In game one, Braeden O’Shaughnessy hit two home runs. The first run came from the top of the fourth inning to even the score 1-1. The second run was in the bottom of the sixth to lead the team offensively.
Padraig O’Shaughnessy locked in game two as he had two hits and a single RBI.
However, freshman catcher Ian Francis was the highlight of the five-run sixth inning with a three-run home run for the first time in his early career.
Sunday, March 6 was a pivotal day as the men turned things around to get their first victory since Sunday, Feb. 20. The Penguins defeated the Vaqueros 3-2 in a hard-fought matchup.
Good hit a solo home run in the top of the ninth inning. He broke a 2-2 tie, which lifted Youngstown State to victory.
In the bottom of the ninth, junior pitcher Nathan Ball earned his third save of the season. Marshalwitz recorded his first victory of the season by recording the final out of the eighth inning.
On March 11, the men’s baseball team continued its winning streak by taking down the University of New Orleans 6-5. The team scored six runs in the top of the eighth inning to overcome a five-run deficit.
Head coach Dan Bertolini was excited about the team overcoming the massive deficit. The bullpen played an important role in staging the comeback for the Penguins.
“The bullpen was huge. They only allowed one pitch and got a good swing,” Bertolini said
Senior catcher Dylan Swarmer went a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate and had two hits. He also had a go-ahead RBI in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Redshirt junior Alex Cardona, freshman pitcher Brandon Mikos, Marshalwitz and Ball all combined to allow one hit over four innings.
Bertolini was ecstatic for Mikos as he came out and got the first win of his young career.
“I’m really happy for Brandon Mikos. In his first appearance, he got the win coming out of the bullpen,” Bertolini said.
The men’s baseball team was able to split its doubleheader on March 12. In the first game, the Penguins fell 8-7 in 10 innings. In the second, they earned a victory 3-2.
In game one, senior outfielder Lucas Nasonti helped the Penguins keep it close with a two-out and two-run single in the top of the 10th. Unfortunately, the Privateers rallied back for three runs to win the game.
In game two, senior pitcher Travis Perry allowed only one run on three hits over seven innings, leading Youngstown State to victory.
March 13 was a different scene as the men’s baseball team was shutout 1-0.
The team fell to 5-10 overall on the season and played its first midweek match up against the University of Pittsburgh on Wednesday, March 16.
The Penguins are back in action Friday, March 18 through Sunday, March 20 against Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.