By Robert Hayes
If recent history is any indication, Wednesdays are now for walk-off wins at Eastwood Field.
For the second consecutive week, the Youngstown State University baseball team won in dramatic fashion, as Phillip Glasser scored the game winning run on a wild pitch in the 11th inning to led the Penguins to a 4-3 victory over the Kent State University Golden Flashes.
Glasser knew running on the wild pitch was risky.
“I saw the ball kick and so I just went, because it’s deep in the game and I just had to take a chance and luckily it paid off,” Glasser said. “I was safe, I got my hand in there. It was a close call. It probably could have been called either way, but I still think I got in there a little bit early.”
YSU coach Dan Bertolini knew Glasser was going to run.
“He told me five seconds before that, that if a ball went into the dirt, I’m going to score,” Bertolini said. “We work on it everyday, it’s something that we talk about and he got a great read.”
It was an back-and-forth contest all game, as YSU had the bases loaded in the bottom of the first inning, due to three straight walks, but only managed to score one run on a sacrifice fly by Trevor Wiersma, to give the Penguins (5-23) an early advantage.
The Golden Flashes (11-15) would come back when they scored two runs off of Penguins starting pitcher Jon Snyder in the top of the fourth to make it 2-1 game.
Snyder would give YSU a good start by going four innings and only allowing two runs on three base hits and three walks. He did record six strikeouts on the afternoon.
Glasser started a rally in the bottom of the fifth by reaching base on a single, which was followed by a single by Blaze Glenn and a walk by Wiersma. Drew Dickerson tied the game up with an RBI single toward right field to make it a 2-2 ballgame.
Ben Carew of Kent State would lead off the top of the seventh inning with a triple, and eventually score in the inning to allow the Golden Flashes to take a 3-2 lead. This set up a bottom of the ninth inning where Glenn knocked a single to left field, to allow Lucas Nasonti to score to tie the game at 3-3. YSU would fail to capitalize further, and the game was sent into extra innings.
It should be noted that YSU’s bullpen did an excellent job of holding Kent State at bay, as Brandon Matthews, Kip DeShields, Brett Souder, Dalton Earich and Grant Kersh combined to hold Kent State to just one run over seven innings pitched. Kersh was awarded the first win of his career.
Glasser would end the day 3-4 with two runs scored.
“It was a weird day,” Bertolini said. “I don’t know if it was tough to see or whatever, there was a lot of strikeouts, and I think both teams did a good job, they were out in the zone, they were able to mix speeds. I’m really impressed with our bullpen today. A lot of guys had some big efforts for us.”
There was a point late in the ballgame when Kent State retired twelve straight YSU hitters, but Bertolini didn’t see his team giving up.
“We’ve played in so many close games,” Bertolini said. “We’ve played in big situations, that those situations aren’t too big for anybody, even our freshman aren’t freshman anymore, they’ve played in a lot of tight games.”
For Glasser confidence at the plate is key.
“We struggled with guys on base all game,” Glasser said. “You just have to have confidence and keep having to erase that and just trust in the guys behind you to score you. I have confidence in every kid behind me.”
YSU carries this momentum into their home series against the University of Illinois-Chicago Flames (11-11, 6-2) at Eastwood Field. The series versus UIC kicks off Friday afternoon, with first pitch set for 5 p.m.