Penguins' Offense Responds to Earn Split, Win Series at Butler

Indianapolis -- The Youngstown State baseball team bounced back from an 11-2 loss in game one to win game two 18-6 and take two out of three games from its Horizon League-opening series at Butler on Saturday.

The Penguins trailed 7-0 after the first inning of the opener, but they showed the mettle to take a 13-1 lead in the finale and cruise to its 18-6 win. YSU won the series opener on Friday 12-2.

"I'm really proud of the way we were able to respond and keep fighting after that first inning in game one," YSU head coach Rich Pasquale said. "We have to tip our hat to [Butler starter Mike] Hernandez for holding our offense in check."

Hernandez held the Penguins to two runs in six hits in eight innings to earn his first win of the year in the opener. The other nine Bulldogs pitchers who threw over the weekend allowed 30 runs on 31 hits in 19 innings.

Anthony Porter homered in each game, and Jacke Healey became the ninth player in school history to have five hits in a game when he went 5-for-7 in the nightcap. Every YSU starter had at least one hit in game two.

In game one, Butler scored seven runs on six hits and sent 12 men to the plate in the first inning of the opener to take control early. The first five batters reached on three walks and two singles, and Kyle Schultz's single to center knocked starter Blake Aquadro from the game with the score 4-0. Trent Wood came in and allowed two of Aquadro's runners to score and one of his own before getting a strike out to end the inning. Five of Butler's runs scored after there were two outs.

Wood settled down and did not allow another run, but Hernandez did not allow a hit until there were two outs in the fifth. Casey Holland finally got the Penguins on the board with a solo home run in the seventh.

Butler answered with a run in the bottom half of the seventh, and the Bulldogs took an 11-1 advantage with three scores in the eighth. Porter homered to lead off the ninth to complete the scoring.

Hernandez allowed both YSU runs on six hits while striking out seven in eight innings to earn his first win of the year.

Tom Clayton and Derek Carr had two hits apiece for the Penguins while Kevin Crane and Mike Hladek had three hits for the Bulldogs.

In game two, it was the Penguins who struck early as they scored the first five runs and blew the game open with an eight-run fifth inning that put them ahead 13-1. The Penguins finished with a season-high 19 hits and scored a season-best 18 runs in their 18-6 triumph.

Joe Iacobucci doubled in Healey in the first inning to give YSU a 1-0 lead, and the Penguins added two runs in the second and two more in the fourth to go ahead 5-0.

Michael Letzter singled in a run in the bottom of the fourth for Butler's first run against YSU starter Phil Klein, but the Penguins answered with eight runs in the fifth to go up 13-1. Carr and Healey had two RBIs apiece in the inning, and Porter had the big blow with a three-run homer to right field.

Butler scored four runs in the bottom of the fifth to climb within 13-5, but YSU scored twice in both the sixth and the eighth to end all doubt. Butler scored its final run in the eighth, and YSU added a run in the ninth.

Klein improved to 2-0, allowing five runs on nine hits while striking out four in five innings. Jared Earle was tagged for five runs on five hits in three innings for Butler.

In addition to Healey's five hits, the senior shortstop had four RBIs and scored four times. Iacobucci and Porter both had three RBIs, and Carr and C.J. Morris both scored three times.

YSU will play at Duquesne on Tuesday at 3 p.m.