*Courtesy of ysusports.com
Houston, Texas – Steven D’Eusanio’s three-run home run in the top of the 11th inning lifted the Youngstown State baseball team to a 6-3 victory over Houston on Saturday night at Darryl & Lori Schroeder Park.
The Penguins improve to 1-1 on the season while the Cougars fall to 1-1.
In the top of the 11th inning, Jeff Wehler drew a leadoff walk, stole second and reached third on a wild pitch. After Blaze Glenn walked, D’Eusanio sent a pitch from Houston’s Carter Henry over the wall in left field to send the Penguins to their first win of the season. It was D’Eusanio’s second home run of the contest as he also hit a two a two-run inside-the-park home run as part of YSU’s three-run sixth inning.
The Cougars threatened in the home half of the 11th as they got two runners aboard with one out. Chad Coles came out of the bullpen to strike out Brad Burckel before Joel Hake came on and got Ryan Hernandez swinging to end the game.
Hake earned the save while Gary Clift Jr. was awarded the victory after allowing just one run on one hit and striking out five over 3.1 innings of relief. Clift Jr. retired nine straight batters at one point and retired the Cougars in order in the ninth and 10th innings. Four Youngstown State pitchers limited Houston’s offense to just three solo home runs, and registered a total of 15 strikeouts.
The Cougars jumped ahead with a solo home run in the bottom of the second inning before the Penguins plated three runs in the top of the sixth. Houston also hit solo shots in the sixth and seventh innings to force the game into extra innings. Eight of the game’s nine runs were the result of home runs.
Youngstown State outhit Houston 8-3 as five different Penguins recorded a hit. D’Eusanio went 3-for-5 with a single, two homers, two runs scored and a career-high five RBIs. It was also the first-multi-homer game of the sophomore’s career. Phillip Glasser notched a pair of singles while Glenn and Wehler each had a hit and scored two runs.
In his first start since May 5, 2018, Collin Floyd delivered an impressive performance for the Penguins. The senior, who missed all of last season with an injury, allowed only two runs on two solo home runs and struck out eight over seven innings of work. Floyd retired 18 of the first 20 hitters he faced and 21 of 24 overall while sitting down the Cougars in order in four different frames.
YSU got leadoff singles and a runner in scoring position with less than two outs in each of the first two innings, but were unable to capitalize. The Penguins had a great scoring opportunity in the top of the first as Turner Grau and Glasser reached on back-to-back infield singles to begin the game. However, Houston starter Clay Aguilar got Wehler to bounce into a 6-4-3 double play and Glenn to fly out to avoid any damage.
After Floyd retired the first five hitters he faced, Houston’s Blake Way hit a solo home run to left field in the bottom of the second inning to give the Cougars a 1-0 edge.
The score remained the same until the top the top of the sixth inning. After Wehler reached with a two-out single, Glenn hit a fly ball to right field that was misplayed by Way, allowing Wehler to score and tie the game at a run apiece. D’Eusanio then hit a sinking line drive to right center field that got by a diving Johnathon Turner and rolled all the way to wall. D’Eusanio was able to race all the way home for the two-run inside-the-park home run that gave YSU a 3-1 advantage.
After Floyd had retired seven batters in a row, Hernandez sent a solo home run to left center to begin the bottom of the seventh inning and pull the Cougars within a run. Kobe Hyland then hit a one-out sole homer to right center off Clift Jr. in the bottom of the eighth to even the contest at 3-3 and eventually force extra innings.
Henry was saddled with the loss for Houston after surrendering the deciding three runs in the 11th. Tristen Bayless allowed just one hit and fanned eight over 4.1 innings of scoreless relief, and Aguilar was responsible for three unearned runs on six hits over 5.2 innings. Isaiah Blaylock also worked a scoreless inning out of the bullpen for the Cougars.
The Penguins and Cougars will play the rubber match of their three-game series tomorrow afternoon at 1 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcast live at UHCougars.com and YSNLive.com.