By John Ostapowicz
This past weekend, the Youngstown State University men’s baseball team traveled to the Monongalia County Ballpark in Granville, West Virginia, to take on West Virginia University.
The men’s baseball team looked to ride its momentum from a two game winning streak into a three-day series against the Mountaineers slated for March 25-27.
The inclement weather that was expected to hit the area caused the games to move toThursday, March 24 and a doubleheader on Friday, March 25.
Despite the setback of the game changes, Youngstown State started its first game of the series in a thrilling fashion only to fizzle out by allowing five straight runs by the Mountaineers. The Penguins fell 6-4 to West Virginia, breaking their winning streak.
Down 1-0 in the second inning, the men’s baseball team went to work scoring the next four runs to take a three-run lead in the top of the third. West Virginia came back in the fifth inning to even the score 4-4 and eventually got the job done in the eighth and ninth innings to secure the Mountaineer victory.
The loss showed sparks of a great team as senior outfielder Dominick Bucko, junior infielder Braeden O’Shaughnessy and senior infielder Steven D’Eusanio each had two hits, out-hitting the Mountaineers 8-5.
Junior outfielder Andre Good had a two-run triple and scored a run to keep the game within striking distance.
On the mound for the Penguins, redshirt pitcher senior Jon Synder allowed four runs on five hits and struck out six batters over four innings. Redshirt junior Alex Cardona came in for an inning of relief and walked three batters.
For the doubleheader March 25, Youngstown State was unable to get it done, losing both games to the Mountaineers. The Penguins dropped the first game 9-3 before falling apart 13-2 in game two.
Head coach Dan Betrollini expressed that the changes of the games, as well as being on the road against Penn State, had an effect on the players and overall preparation of the game.
“It was difficult; not an excuse — we have to find ways to execute. We were not as fresh on the mound as we would have liked to be, especially when you’re playing a good team like that and it had an impact,” Bertolini said.
In game one of the doubleheader, West Virginia scored seven runs over its final four at-bats to overwhelm the Penguins.
Senior pitcher Chad Coles tried his best to hold off the Mountaineers but took the loss after allowing seven runs on seven hits. However, he had four strikeouts and walked five batters over six innings.
Senior outfielder Lucas Nasonti went 2-for-3 with a double and a home run to get Youngstown State on the board. He also scored all three of the Penguins runs and was a fundamental part of the game.
In game two, the Penguins allowed six runs in the first three innings which helped the Mountaineers to a 6-0 lead. Youngstown State fired back with a two-run sixth inning before West Virginia answered with seven runs in the bottom.
With the series loss, the Penguins fall to 9-14 on the season but have high hopes that with rest and preparation they will be able to win down the stretch.
“In the second game they just beat us. We didn’t play well — we had five errors — you’re not going to win too many games like that,” Bertolini said.
The men’s baseball team played Michigan State University on Wednesday, March 30. For more information on the game check out ysusports.com.
The Penguins are back in action April 1-3 as they face a three-game Horizon League series against Oakland University.