*Story Courtesy of YSUSports.com
ABILENE, TX- Jeff Wehler hit a two-run home run to break up a no-hitter in the ninth inning, and the Youngstown State baseball team fell 5-2 to Abilene Christian in the series opener on Thursday night at Crutcher Scott Field.
Wehler’s two-run blast came with one out in the ninth inning off Austin Glaze, who was the third ACU pitcher of the night. Starter Austin Wagner, Ben Johnson and Glaze combined to allow two runs on one hit, one walk, and one hit batsman. Youngstown State also had two runners reach on errors.
YSU starter Travis Perry allowed five hits in 6.1 innings, but he was hurt by a pair of two-out home runs that accounted for three of the Wildcats’ five runs.
Abilene Christian is now 6-3, while Youngstown State dropped to 2-5.
Wagner did the bulk of the work for ACU, pitching six innings and striking out eight batters on 80 pitches. He extended his streak of not allowing an earned run to 17 innings this season. Johnson pitched the seventh and eighth innings, and Glaze pitched the ninth.
Perry walked the first Wildcat batter of the game, Cameron Cromer, who stole second, advanced to third on a throwing error and scored on Tommy Cruz’s RBI single. Perry started to settle in by retiring six straight batters into the third inning before Cruz hit the first pitch of his second at-bat over the wall in right-center to put Abilene Christian ahead 2-0.
ACU extended its lead to 4-0 in the fourth after Perry got the first two batters out. Joseph Craig walked on a full-count pitch, and Ryne Randle homered down the right-field line for the second two-out homer in as many innings.
Perry walked Randle to start the seventh, and he got a flyout before handing the ball over to the bullpen. Hayden Clearman greeted Dalton Earich with a single, and Cromer reached on an error to load the bases. Cruz walked on a full count pitch to force in ACU’s fifth run, and Earich retired the next two batters.
In the top of the ninth, Glasser, who hit a deep fly ball to center that was ruled a three-base error in the sixth, walked with one out to set the stage for Wehler. The junior hit the first pitch of his at-bat to straightaway center for his first home run of 2020.
Perry was tagged with his first loss of the season, and Earich was not charged with a run in 0.2 innings. Casey Marshalwitz came on to pitch a scoreless eighth inning for the Penguins.
Youngstown State and Abilene Christian will continue their three-game series on Friday at Crutcher Scott Field. The first pitch will be at 7:05 p.m. Eastern, and YSU is slated to start pitcher Colin Clark against ACU’s Austin Ruesch.