Clark, Glenn Lead Penguins to Series-Opening Win Over UIC

Blaze Glenn (Photo by Rob Hayes)
Blaze Glenn (Photo by Rob Hayes)

Colin Clark pitched a gem, and Blaze Glenn homered as part of a five-RBI night to lead the Youngstown State baseball team to a 7-3 victory over UIC on Friday at Eastwood Field.

Clark held the Flames to one earned run over eight innings as he outdueled the Horizon League's ERA leader, Jacob Key. Glenn backed him up by going 4-for-4 as YSU won for the fourth time in the last six games.

The Penguins are now 6-23 overall, 4-2 at home and 3-7 in conference play, while UIC remains atop the Horizon League standings with an 11-12 overall mark and a 6-3 record against the league.

In addition to Glenn's four hits, Phillip Glasser and Lucas Nasonti both had a pair of hits as Youngstown State registered a season-best 13 hits as a team. Glenn and Glasser combined to go 6-for-7 with two walks and a sacrifice bunt in 10 plate appearances from the second and third spots in the Penguins lineup.

Clark had a big moment in the top of the first inning when he held the Flames scoreless after a leadoff triple. With the infield playing in, Clark induced a ground out and foul out to Glenn at third base and a ground out to Trevor Wiersma at first to end the early threat.

The Penguins capitalized on Clark's effort in the bottom half by scoring twice off Key, who came into the game with a 1.93 ERA and allowing just 49 baserunners in his first 51.1 innings this season. Cameron Murray led off with a single to right, and Glasser moved him to second with a sacrifice bunt. Glenn plated the game's first run with a single to right-center and, following a Jeff Wehler double, scored on Wiersma's RBI ground out.

UIC tied the score in the top of the second with the help of a leadoff walk and a YSU error. Alex Dee walked to start the inning, and he scored from first on Chris Papapietro's single to right field and ensuing two-base error. Papapietro then tied the game with his unearned run that made the score 2-2.

The Penguins went right back to work in the bottom of the second inning by sending eight batters to the plate and scoring three times to go up 5-2. Web Charles made up for his error in the top of the inning with a leadoff single, and Nasonti and Murray drew consecutive one-out walks to load the bases. Glasser singled in Charles with the go-ahead run, and Glenn followed with a two-run single to center that made the score 5-2.

After the single to Papapietro, Clark settled in and retired 10 straight batters before allowing a two-out single in the fifth. UIC got another unearned run in the top of the sixth when Ryan Lin-Peistrup reached on an error to start the inning and scored on a sacrifice fly, but that's all that Clark would yield.

Glenn, who had the throwing error that led to the run in the top of the inning, atoned for the miscue with his two-run home run over the left-field wall in the bottom of the sixth. It was the junior's third home run of the season, and it gave the Penguins their 7-3 lead that ended up being the final score. Glenn later walked in the eighth inning to reach base for the fifth time in as many plate appearances.

Clark allowed one earned run on five hits while striking out four batters over eight innings of work to earn his first career victory. Kip DeShields allowed a walk and single to start the ninth, but he induced a fielder's choice and game-ending 6-4-3 double play to preserve the win.

Key allowed five runs on 10 hits and three walks in his 4.2 innings for the Flames. Nick Oliff allowed two runs on Glenn's home run on three hits over 3.1 innings.

The Penguins and Flames will play game two of their series on Saturday at 3 p.m. YSU will wear pink jersey tops for breast cancer awareness.