Kent State Baseball’s Rally Falls Short at No. 23 Louisville
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Kent State mounted a rally but could not overcome No. 23 Louisville, losing a 5-3 decision Saturday (March 5) at Jim Patterson Stadium.
"We were sloppy in the first six innings," said seventh-year head coach Scott Stricklin. "We just didn't play very well. We really competed in the last three and battled and gave ourselves a chance to win, but we didn't compete very well in the first six innings."
Louisville sophomore starting right-handed pitcher Justin Amlung went seven frames, allowing one earned run on one hit. He struck out four and walked one en route to earning the mound triumph for the Cardinals (7-2, 0-0).
"He (Amlung) threw a lot of strikes and really competed," said Stricklin. "He did his job, and we didn't do a very good job of trying to battle and make him work a little harder."
Kent State senior starting southpaw Kyle Hallock (Sandusky, Ohio) was tagged with the pitching defeat, falling to 1-2 on the season. He allowed one earned run on four hits in 4.1 innings of work for the Golden Flashes (5-4, 0-0). Hallock fanned two and walked five in the loss.
Louisville freshman designated hitter Ty Young led the way offensively with three singles while junior right fielder Stewart Ijames added a double and a single. Kent State sophomore center fielder Evan Campbell (Beloit, Ohio) was Kent State's leading hitter with two base hits.
The Cardinals tacked the first run of the game on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth inning when freshman first baseman Ryan Seiz drew a walk and then scored later in the inning on a throwing error.
Louisville extended its lead to five with a four-run fifth frame. Senior left fielder Drew Haynes got things going when he reached on an error to leadoff the inning, and then advanced to second on a passed ball. Freshman center fielder Adam Engel coaxed a walk, and Young loaded the bags with Cardinals on a single to third. Junior second baseman Ryan Wright walked to bump in Louisville's second run. Engel tagged up and scored on a sacrifice fly to right by Ijames, and Wright and Young each moved up a base on a throwing error by the Flashes. A double to right by sophomore third baseman Cade Stallings plated freshman first baseman Ryan Seinz, who reached on a fielder's choice, and Wright to make it a 5-0 game in favor of the home team.
The Flashes cut into Louisville's lead with two runs in the eighth. Freshman second baseman Derek Toadvine (Springfield, Ohio) reached on a fielder's choice, and Campbell followed with a single down the left field line. Junior shortstop Jimmy Rider (Venetia, Pa.) plated both with a triple to left center that put Kent State right back in the game.
Kent State made the Cardinals sweat out the final frame. Louisville junior righty Tony Zych entered the game to finish the contest for the Cardinals, but was quickly faced with a two men on, no outs situation as junior third baseman Travis Shaw (Washington Court House, Ohio) drew a leadoff walk and junior catcher David Lyon (Emporium, Pa.) followed with a single to left. One out later, freshman first baseman Cody Koch (Sandusky, Ohio) coaxed a base on balls to fill the bases with Flashes. Shaw cut Louisville's lead to two when he was pushed across the plate after junior left fielder Joe Koch (Youngstown, Ohio) was hit by a pitch. That's as close as the Flashes got, though, as a strikeout and a lineout ended their comeback bid. Zych was credited with the save for the Cardinals.
"We had great at-bats," said Stricklin. "Guys decided late in the game that they were going to compete and have great at-bats, and we put ourselves in position to win. I'd really like to see what would have happened if we competed for nine innings like we did the last three."
The Golden Flashes look to end the weekend with a victory Sunday (March 6) when they conclude their three-game series with the Cardinals. Junior lefty David Starn (Hudson, Ohio) is scheduled to start on the hill for Kent State. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.