Kent State Baseball Looks To Get Back On Track at Caravelle Resort Classic
KENT STATE GOLDEN FLASHES (5-5, 0-0)
CARAVELLE RESORT CLASSIC
Friday, March 11 • at No. 24 Coastal Carolina Chanticleers • 4 p.m.
Saturday, March 12 • vs. UAB Blazers • 6 p.m.
Sunday, March 13 • vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish • 11 a.m.
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• The Kent State baseball team looks to end a three-game losing streak this weekend (March 11-13) at the Caravelle Resort Classic in Conway, S.C. The Flashes will face off with host Coastal Carolina, UAB and Notre Dame. Kent State's game Friday (March 11) against the No. 24 Chanticleers marks the program's third contest against a ranked opponent this season. Kent State took down No. 19 Georgia Tech, 6-1, on Feb. 20 but was swept by No. 23 Louisville last weekend (March 4-6).
• The starting pitching was there, but, unfortunately for the Golden Flashes, the usually strong defense and timely hits were not at Louisville. The Flashes, who had committed just seven errors in the first seven games of the season combined, made six errors in three games at Louisville. The Cardinals outscored the Flashes, 9-5, in three games but only four of Louisville's runs were earned. In last Sunday's 1-0 loss, Kent State stranded eight bas runners.
• Outstanding starts by redshirt sophomore lefthander Andrew Chafin (Wakeman, Ohio) and junior southpaw David Starn (Hudson, Ohio) were spoiled by Kent State's inability to capitalize offensively and its defensive mistakes. Chafin hurled a career-high seven scoreless innings of one-hit ball and had a no-hitter going through five frames last Friday (March 4). He fanned a career-best 10 batters and became the first Kent State pitcher to fire 10 or more strikeouts since Robert Sabo recorded 11 in a 9-2 victory over Miami on May 27, 2010, at the Mid-American Conference Tournament. Chafin exited the game with a 1-0 lead, but the Flashes allowed two runs in the bottom of the ninth to send the contest to extras tied at two-all and fell in the 11th on a walk-off double. Starn was a hard-luck loser in Kent State's 1-0 defeat last Sunday (March 6), going eight innings and hurling seven strikeouts while allowing just three hits and one walk.
• Kent State junior shortstop Jimmy Rider (Venetia, Pa.) has hit safely in all 10 of Kent State's games so far this season. He went 2-for-4 in last Sunday's game at Louisville and currently ranks second on the team in batting average (.391) and hits (18) and is tied for the team lead with three doubles.
COASTAL CAROLINA SERIES HISTORY
Kent State leads the all-time series against the Chanticleers, 15-7.
SCOUTING COASTAL CAROLINA
Coastal Carolina is coming off of a 10-2 win over Wake Forest Wednesday (March 9) that ran its winning streak to five and upped its record to 9-4.
Head Coach: Gary Gilmore is in his 16th season at the helm of the Chanticleers, coming off a 2010 campaign in which Coastal Carolina set school and Big South records and led the NCAA with 55 wins, had the nation's best winning percentage (.846), and hosted both the Myrtle Beach Regional and Super Regional as the nation's No. 4 overall seed.
Pitcher to Watch: Junior right-handed starter Anthony Meo (Cranston, R.I.) is the ace of Coastal Carolina's pitchign arsenal. A 2011 Golden Spikes Award Watch List pick, Meo has posted 23 strikeouts over three starts.
Hitter to Watch: Senior center fielder Scott Woodward (Markle, Ind.) leads the Chants with a .333 average and four doubles.
UAB SERIES HISTORY
The Golden Flashes are 0-2 all-time against the Blazers.
Since starting the season 1-3, UAB has rattled off seven straight wins, including three victories last weekend (March 4-6) over Cleveland State.
Head Coach: Brian Shoop is in his fifth season as skipper of the Blazers. Shoop's squad achieved back-to-back winning seasons with 31 triumphs in 2010.
Pitcher to Watch: Sophomore righty Dillon Napoleon (Colleyville, Texas) has fanned 22 batters and allowed just four earned runs in three starts.
Hitter to Watch: Junior outfielder Patrick Palmeiro (Colleyville, Texas) has posted a team-best four doubles, two homers and 14 RBIs.
NOTRE DAME SERIES HISTORY
The all-time series between the Golden Flashes and Fighting Irish is deadlocked at seven-all.
SCOUTING NOTRE DAME
The Fighting Irish have lost five of their last six games since starting 4-1. Notre Dame defeated Manhattan, 5-4, in ten innings last Saturday (March 5) for its lone victory at the 2011 Coca-Cola Classic in Rock Hill, S.C.
Head Coach: Mik Aoki is in his first season as head coach of the Irish. He came to Notre Dame after four seasons as the head of the Boston College baseball program. Aoki guided BC to its first NCAA Regional appearance since 1967 in 2009.
Pitcher to Watch: Senior righty Brian Dupra (Rochester, N.Y.) owns a team-best 1.71 ERA and 26 strikeouts.
Hitter to Watch: Freshman first baseman Trey Mancini (Winter Haven, Fla.) leads Notre Dame with a .323 batting average to go along with two doubles, a triple, two home runs and seven RBIs.
TAKE IT FROM THE TOP
The top of Kent State's batting order has performed like you'd expect your first three hitters to. Sophomore center fielder Evan Campbell (Beloit, Ohio), junior shortstop Jimmy Rider (Venetia, Pa.) and senior Ben Klafczynski (Granger Township, Ohio) have accounted for 51 hits (55% of Kent State's hits) and 24 RBIs (44%).
KLAF'S KRUSHING IT
Senior right fielder Ben Klafczynski (Granger Township, Ohio) has been a force at the plate for the Golden Flashes. He's leading the squad in batting average (.465), slugging percentage (.698), on base percentage (.479), runs scored (12), hits (20), RBIs (10) and home runs (2).
Klafczynski claimed the Mid-American Conference's first two East Division Player of the Week Awards of 2011. He led the Golden Flashes offensively with a .538 batting average and seven hits in Kent State's three-game series at Georgia Tech (Feb. 18-20). The senior helped spark Kent State's 6-1 victory over the No. 19 Yellow Jackets on Feb. 20, posting his third straight multi-hit game by going 3-for-4 with two runs scored. Klafczynski continued his white-hot start to the 2011 season, going 10-for-17 for a .588 batting average, eight RBIs, nine runs and four extra-base hits to help power Kent State to four victories at the Johnny Gill Memorial Tournament (Feb. 25-27). He is hitting .567 on the season and has posted seven straight multi-hit games.
Klafczynski has developed into one of the most prolific hitters in Kent State history. A 2010 All-MAC Tournament Team selection, he ranks third on the school's career records list in doubles with 62.
LIKE HE'S BEEN THERE FOREVER
Kent State sophomore center fielder Evan Campbell (Beloit, Ohio) has made a near seamless transition from second base to center field.
A 2010 Second Team All-MAC pick as a freshman who posted a .335 batting average with 61 hits, 38 runs, 12 doubles, two home runs and 34 RBIs for the season, Campbell made the move from infield to outfield to replace the graduated Jared Humphreys. His offensive production has certainly not been effected by the position change; he's batting .302 with 13 hits -- including two doubles and a triple. He's also been flawless defensively in center, posting a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage with 15 putouts.
NEW KID ON THE DIAMOND
Freshman second baseman Derek Toadvine (Springfield, Pa.) is hitting .324 with 12 hits, nine runs scored, two doubles and five RBIs. He posted the first multi-hit game of his career, tallying three singles while driving in one run and scoring another in Kent State's 12-2 victory over Wagner on Feb. 25.
The Kent State baseball team has the luxury of possessing three weekend starters who could very well be the aces of many pitching staffs in the country.
• Senior left-handed starting pitcher Kyle Hallock (Sandusky, Ohio) tossed a career-high eight innings, allowing two unearned runs on seven hits to even his season record at 1-1 as Kent State rolled to a 12-2 win over Wagner last on Feb. 25. He fanned four, sat down Wagner's bats in order in three frames and did not surrender an extra-base hit.
He tallied an 8-5 record in 2010 with one save and a 5.64 ERA in 83 innings of work. His eight wins rank as the sixth most for a single season in school history and tied for the conference lead. Hallock ranked third on the team with 69 strikeouts. A 49th-round draft pick of the Philadelphia Phillies following the 2010 season, Hallock proved to be masterful in the clutch. Credited with pitching victories in two games on championship Saturday (5/29) of the MAC Tournament, Hallock threw the top of the 10th and got the pitching win vs. Eastern Michigan in a 9-8 Kent State triumph. He then started the MAC Tournament Championship Game vs. Central Michigan later that day, allowing only two runs in seven innings of work to earn the mound win in a 5-3 victory for the Flashes.
• Redshirt sophomore left-handed starting pitcher Andrew Chafin (Wakeman, Ohio) made his long anticipated first start of the 2011 campaign in last Saturday's 13-0 thrashing of host Winthrop on Feb. 26, matching a career-high by going five shutout innings. He struck out three and allowed three hits en route to earning the mound victory.
Chafin marked his official return to the mound by getting the last two outs of Kent State's 6-1 win over then-No. 19 Georgia Tech on Feb. 20 by inducing a 5-6-3 double play.
Chafin sat out the 2010 campaign with an elbow injury. Named to the Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American Team in '09, Chafin became only the third Kent State player and the first since 1992 to be named Mid-American Conference Freshman of the Year. He finished the season with a 4-1 record, eight saves, a 1.26 ERA and 55 strikeouts.
• Junior southpaw starting pitcher David Starn (Hudson, Ohio) upped his record to 2-0 after working six innings, allowing two earned runs on five hits and striking out three as the Flashes earned an 8-6 win over Winthrop on Feb. 27.
He was masterful on the mound in Kent State's 6-1 victory at then-No. 19 Georgia Tech on Feb. 20, tossing seven innings of four-hit ball and surrendering one earned run as the Kent State baseball team used excellent pitching, an awakened offense and outstanding defense to earn its first victory of the 2011 campaign.
The accolades came rolling in for Starn following his performance against the Yellow Jackets. He was named Mid-American Conference East Division Pitcher of the Week, CollegeBaseball360.com Primetime Pitcher of the Week and CollegeBaseballInsider.com Central Region Pitcher of the Week.
In 2010, Starn started all 16 games he appeared in, going 7-3 with a 5.09 ERA and 76 strikeouts in 88.1 innings of work. His 16 starts tied for the team lead while he ranked fifth in the MAC in strikeouts.
THE BULLPEN GOSPELS
Kent State's starting pitching has been backed up by a bullpen that has done a great job of entering games and maintaining leads thus far this season.
• Senior righthander Justin Gill (Canton, Ohio) fanned three and allowed one hit in 1.1 innings of work to help preserve the 6-1 Feb. 20 victory over then-No. 19 Georiga Tech.
Gill, the 2010 MAC Tournament Most Valuable Player, fills the role of closer. Ranking tied for sixth on the school's career records list in saves with nine, Gill went 4-1 with a 5.22 ERA, 36 strikeouts and a team-best five saves. His saves mark set a new personal career standard while his strikeouts matched his previous high. Gill saved his best work of the season for the MAC Tournament, striking out six batters in 7.1 innings of relief work over three elimination games to garner MVP honors. He earned his fourth pitching win after tossing 2.1 scoreless innings and striking out two vs. Toledo (5/28) as Kent State won, 4-3. Gill pitched 3.1 scoreless frames fanned three to help the Flashes advance to the tournament title game in a 9-8 win vs. Eastern Michigan (5/29), then helped punch Kent State's ticket to the NCAA Tournament later that day by hurling 1.2 scoreless innings and picking up his fifth save as Kent State won, 5-3.
• Redshirt sophomore right-handed relief pitcher Ryan Adams (North Royalton, Ohio) threw a perfect frame in the ninth of Kent State's , allowing no hits, walks or runs to help seal Kent State's 12-2 win over Wagner on Feb. 25.
• Redshirt sophomore right-hander David Wright (Salem, Ohio) and sophomore righty George Roberts (Summerhill, Pa.) picked up where Chafin left off in relief duty of last Saturday's 13-0 blanking of host Winthrop. Wright worked three scoreless frames, striking out one and allowing two hits while Roberts allowed no hits and fanned one in the ninth inning.
The Golden Flashes travel to the Steel City for their first midweek game of 2011 next Wednesday (March 16) to square off with Pittsburgh.