Late Comeback Sends Panthers Past Youngstown State, 4-3
April 17, 2009
NILES, Ohio - Senior Brad Lusti won his fourth-straight start and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee baseball team overcame a late 3-2 deficit in beating Youngstown State University, 4-3, Friday at Eastwood Field. The Panthers (14-18, 7-3 Horizon) scored a run in the seventh to tie it against the Penguins (9-23, 6-7 Horizon) and then plated the eventual winning run in the ninth inning to record a victory for the ninth time in their last 11 games.
"This was a game that we were very fortunate to win," Milwaukee head coach Scott Doffek said. "From an execution standpoint, both on offense and defense, it was one of our worst of the season. We battled and held on and it was great to see."
Lusti (4-2) did what he needed to do for the victory. He improved to 4-0 in Horizon League play in 2009 and got the big outs when he needed them. He worked eight complete innings, allowing three runs on nine hits and stranded nine men on base. He struck out eight batters and walked just two.
"Brad really grinded it out all day," Doffek said. "He didn't have his best stuff today, but really fought through adversity and gave us a chance to win the game. He deserves a lot of the credit for the win."
Senior Andy Gerhartz was a one-man wrecking crew for the Panthers, setting a new school record with four stolen bases during the course of a 2-for-4 day where he scored twice and drove in another to have a hand in three of the team's four runs in the contest.
He nearly scored the winning run by himself in the ninth after reaching on an error. He stole second base and then alertly went to third despite the ball never leaving the infield on the catcher's throw. Then, on a third-strike wild pitch, broke for home when the YSU catcher threw down to first base and slid back in under the throw back with the eventual winning run. He was credited with his fourth stolen base of the game on the play.
"It was just a remarkable game by Andy," Doffek said. "It was about the greatest job of base running that you will ever see. He single-handedly won the game with it."
Senior Craig Meier then came on in the ninth for his fourth save of the season. After the first runner reached base on a wild pitch following a strikeout, Meier got Casey Holland to line out to first to end it with the tying run at second base.
"Craig really dug deep and found a way to get us that last out," Doffek said. "This is a game that in the past, we would have found a way to lose."
Up 2-1 heading into the bottom of the sixth, UWM saw its one-run lead disappear on Jacke Healey's two-run home run.
Milwaukee then tied the game at 2-2 in the seventh on an error in the field by the Penguins.
Senior Josh Groves plated Gerhartz on a sac fly in the fifth after he stole a pair of bases to get to third and Gerhartz also drove in the first run on a single in the third.
The Panthers finished with just seven hits, with Gerhartz the only player to record a multi-hit game. Jeremy Banks and C.J. Morris each had three hits to lead YSU.
The two teams return to action with a doubleheader tomorrow, with first pitch of game one set for 11 a.m. CST.