Pittsburgh broke open a close game in the final four innings off of Youngstown State’s bullpen and ended up beating the Penguins, 24-7, on Tuesday afternoon at Eastwood Field.
The Penguins and Panthers were tied at 3-3 through five innings, but Pitt scored five runs in the sixth, four in the seventh, five in the eighth and seven in the ninth.
Panthers right fielder Casey Roche hit for the cycle and drove in 10 runs, and Pitt posted 24 hits as a team. Three Penguins had two hits.
Pitt struck first with a run on two hits in the second inning. Steve Selinsky Jr. led off with a double inside the third-base bag, and he moved to third on Boo Vazquez’s fly out to the wall in right. Sam Parente came through with an RBI single to left for the first run of the game.
The Panthers added two runs to their lead in the third when Stephen Vranka doubled in Dylan Wolsonovich and scored on Roche’s two-out infield single.
Youngstown State tied the score in the fifth with three two-out runs. Dan Popio led off with a pinch-hit double, and he scored two batters later on Mike Accardi’s ground out. Neil Schroth got the offense going again with an infield single, and Drew Dosch was walked intentionally after Schroth stole second. Clean-up batter Josh White then brought in both runners with a two-out double to left.
Pitt started to pull away with five runs on six straight hits in the top of the sixth. YSU reliever Ryan Krokos struck out Parente to start the inning but gave up three singles, a double, a triple and another single in succession. Evan Oswald’s single to left broke the 3-3 tie, and Roche completed the scoring with an RBI single that brought in Eric Hess.
The Panthers tacked on four more runs in the seventh on Dylan Wolsonovich’s homer to left and Roche’s two-run triple. That put them ahead 12-3, and they added five runs in the eighth and seven in the ninth. Roche hit a grand slam in the eighth and a two-run double in the ninth to complete the cycle.
YSU scored four runs in the bottom of the ninth for the final tally. Jack Graham had an RBI on an error, and three runs came in on Jonas Wellan’s single to center.
Neither starting pitcher factored in the decision. YSU’s Jared Wight allowed three runs on seven hits and two walks in five innings and left with the score tied at 3-3. Krokos was charged with the loss, allowing the five runs that scored in the sixth. Pitt starter Jeff Kelly allowed three runs, and Luke Curtis came in with two outs in the fifth and threw a scoreless inning to earn the win.
Youngstown State will play at West Virginia on Wednesday at 6 p.m.