Buckeyes’ blast

Grand slam, errors doom YSU vs. OSU

Tribune Chronicle / Robert Hayes Lucas Nasonti slides into home plate to score YSU's first run in the bottom of the first inning against OSU.

NILES — A crowd of roughly 1,500 people flocked to Eastwood Field Tuesday to watch Youngstown State host Ohio State, as this was the Buckeyes first time to the Mahoning Valley since 2015.

The Penguins took an early lead, but walks and other minor miscues cost YSU as it fell to Ohio State, 7-4.

“I think we made too many small mistakes, they added up,” YSU coach Dan Bertolini said. “We kinda run ourselves out of an inning early, made a couple of base running mistakes.”

YSU did jump on Ohio State early when Jeff Wehler drove home Lucas Nasonti on an RBI single to right field to make it 1-0 in the bottom of the first.

Wehler continued to hit the ball well, as he blasted a three-run bomb to left field in the bottom of the third to increase YSU’s lead to 4-0.

Tribune Chronicle / Robert Hayes Youngstown State's Dylan Swarmer takes a lead off of second base against Ohio State.

After having a rough weekend at UIC, Wehler knew he had to make adjustments.

“I was seeing the ball well today. Coming off of a tough weekend for me, it was kind of a long bus ride home,” Wehler said “I would just go over my approach a little bit, and just go back to the simple things, in hitting, and I was lucky enough to come out and do what I did today.”

Meanwhile, Jon Snyder gave YSU a quality start toward the beginning. He struck out six batters in his five innings of work, but made a costly mistake when he gave up a grand slam to Ohio State’s Conner Pohl in the top of the fifth to tie the game at 4.

Bertolini thought his starter did well.

“I thought Jon threw the ball really well. He made one mistake, he had some command issues at times, but I thought overall he threw the ball pretty well, and gave us a chance,” he said. “A guy (Pohl) got a pretty good swing on the ball.”

The Penguins did swipe two bags while tying the all-time single season steals record of 104 that was set back in 1970. Bertolini sees steals as a big component to his team’s repertoire.

“It’s part of our offense,” he said. “It’s how we can score runs easily, even though we had six hits, we found a way to score multiple runs, just because we put pressure on teams and (were) able to steal bases.

“We kind of live and die by being aggressive on the base paths and making teams make plays. I think it can help your offense out, especially if you’re struggling a little bit.”

Ohio State (28-24) took the lead in the top of the eighth on a home run by Dominic Canzone, which made it a 6-4 game. Canzone tacked on another run in the top of the ninth on a sac fly.

YSU left 12 runners on base during the game.

Wehler understands what YSU needs going forward.

“Gotta pay attention to the details in practice (today),” he said. “(Today) is a big day for us to just kinda clear things up a little bit. We just got to keep playing good baseball. Tonight we played pretty good baseball, but here and there we didn’t capitalize on things we should have.”

The Penguins (12-38) have one more series this weekend at Eastwood Field against Milwaukee to tune up for the Horizon League tournament next Wednesday.

Bertolini will have his team prepared.

“There’s an opportunity we could end up playing Milwaukee (in the tournament),” he said. “So, we’ve just got to play good baseball, find a way to win some games, find out what we need to do in order to win next Wednesday and move forward and be ready to go.”

The first game of the Milwaukee series takes place this Thursday with first pitch set for 3 p.m.

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