CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – A five-run rally in the top of the seventh inning pushed The University of Akron baseball team to a 7-6 win over Youngstown State on Saturday afternoon at Hand Park on the campus of Austin Peay.
Sophomore Brandon Winter led Akron (1-7) with a pair of doubles and two RBI. Kurt Gamby also collected a pair of hits, while Devan Ahart and Tyler Begun each drove in two.
Senior Danny Fawcett (1-0) picked up the win out of the bullpen, pitching 0.2 innings and allowing no hits. Alex Loftin picked up a three inning save, pitching out of a jam in the seventh and eighth to preserve the win.
Phil Lipari led YSU (0-9) with two hits and two RBI.
"I was very happy to see our guys hang in there and come back from a four-run deficit late in the game," first-year Akron coach Rick Rembielak said. "Our hitters stayed with it and were determined to execute in the late innings."
It marked Rembielak's first win as coach at Akron.
The Penguins jumped out to an early lead with a three-run first. YSU collected three hits – all singles – and benefited from a walk in the inning. Jake Kucek connected first, driving in a run with a single through the left side. Kevin Hix then drove in a pair with a two-out single to left center.
Two doubles produced UA's first run in the bottom of the second. Gamby sent a liner down the right field line to lead off the inning and scored two batters later on Stewart's double to the right center field gap.
Phil Lipari stretched the Penguin lead to 5-1, with a two-run home run in the bottom of the fourth. The blast came with two outs and scored Hix who had walked to lead off the inning.
A Winter double sparked the series that led to an Akron run in the top of the fifth. Winter moved to third on a wild pitch and was driven in by a Devan Ahart sacrifice fly.
YSU made it a 6-2 game in the sixth as Jack Graham scored when Joey Havrilak dropped a fly ball off the bat of Jeremy Banks in right.
Winter's second double of the game generated the pivotal five-run seventh for the Zips. Havrilak tripled to lead off the frame and Stewart walked to put Zips on the corners with nobody out and chase Shedlock from the game. Winter then turned on a Ryan Krokos pitch and pulled a double down the left field line to score both Havrilak and Stewart. After a Gerrad Rohan walk Ahart picked up his second RBI of the game with a single through the right side. After Rohan and Ahart moved up on a wild pitch, Begun gave UA its first lead and set the contest's final margin with a single to center.
Closer Alex Loftin pitched out of a jam in the bottom of the seventh as YSU put runners on the corners with nobody gone. Loftin got David Leon to line out to short and then got a double play off the bat of Graham to end the threat. Akron would again go to the double play in the eighth to get out of the inning. Loftin issued back-to-back walks with one out, but got Banks to hit into the twin killing.
"Loftin took the ball after we grabbed the lead and competed extremely well," Rembielak said.
Akron wraps up the weekend on Sunday with a 3:30 p.m. ET game with host Austin Peay. Fans can follow the action via live statistics.