Niles -- The Youngstown State baseball team scored seven runs in the third inning and got three RBIs from Tom Clayton in a 10-6, rain-shortened game two of a doubleheader with Butler on Sunday at Eastwood Field.
The game was called in the seventh inning at 3:44 p.m. due to rain. The start time of the doubleheader was moved up from noon to 10:15 a.m. in hopes of avoiding the storm that forced game two to be shortened.
The Penguins nearly overcame a 9-2 deficit in the opener before falling 9-8. The doubleheader split give Youngstown State a 19-19 overall record and a 7-6 mark in Horizon League play. Butler moves to 15-22 overall and 6-10 in the league.
Jacke Healey had six hits in the two games and hit his 11th home run of the season in game one of the doubleheader. That ties him for the single-season school record for home runs with 20 games remaining on the schedule.
In game two, YSU jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning off Butler starter David Dennemann. The first three Penguin hitters all reached on bunts - Healey and Clayton had bunt singles, and Armani Johnson reached on an error. Joe Iacobucci walked with the bases loaded to bring in Healey, and Johnson came in when Jeremy Banks reached on a fielder's choice.
Butler rallied with three runs in the top of the second to take a brief 3-2 advantage. After YSU starter Corey Vukovic struck out the Kyle Schultz to start the inning, Michael Letzter singled and Jack Krause was hit by a pitch. Andrew Eckhardt followed with a single to center that scored Letzter, and Kyle Waggoner hit a two-out, two-run single to center two batters later.
The Penguins, though, put some distance between themselves and the Bulldogs in the bottom of the sixth with seven runs. Casey Holland led off with a home run just inside the right field foul pole, and seven more Penguins reached before recording an out. Clayton had a two-run single in the inning, Iacobucci had an RBI single and Banks hit an RBI double.
Butler closed the gap with two runs in the fourth to make the score 9-5, and the Bulldogs had the go-ahead run at the plate in the fifth. With one run already in, Butler had the bases loaded with one out before Kevin McCulloh worked out of the jam. he got leadoff hitter Luke Duncan to foul out, and Waggoner grounded out to short to end the inning.
Clayton hit a solo homer to center with two outs in the bottom of the sixth for the final tally.
McCulloh earned his first collegiate victory, allowing one run on four hits while striking out three in three innings out of the bullpen. Dennemann allowed seven runs in one inning, dropping to 1-2 with the loss.
In the opener, Butler scored all of its first eight runs on home runs and worked out of a bases loaded jam in the eighth to preserve a 9-8 win.
Corey Moylan's two-run homer in the first inning gave Butler an early 2-0 lead. YSU got an unearned run in the bottom half when Johnson reached on an error and scored on Iacobucci's fielder's choice.
Butler mounted a two-out surge in the fifth to go ahead 6-1. After Phil Klein retired two of the first three hitters, Grant Fillipitch singled, Moylan walked and Kevin Crane hit a grand slam to left.
Healey's record-tying homer in the fifth made the score 6-2, but Butler scored three more runs in the sixth to go ahead 9-2. Two runs scored when Michael Letzter homered, and the final tally came in on a double steal.
The Penguins started their comeback bid in the seventh with four runs on four hits. Clayton doubled to center with the bases loaded to plate two runs, and Anthony Porter singled in another. YSU still had the bases loaded with one out, but Tyler Szmczak induced Banks into a sacrifice fly and Padraic Williams to ground out to keep the margin at 9-6.
The Penguins also had the bases loaded in the eighth but couldn't come up with a big hit. With two runs already in, YSU had the bases loaded and nobody out with the score 9-8. Iacobucci hit a hard liner right at shortstop Jack Krause, and Porter grounded into a 5-4-3 inning-ending double play on a close play at first. Fillipitch made a diving grab to his left at third to start the twin-killer.
YSU will remain home to play Kent State on Tuesday at 5 p.m.