Kent State Baseball Uses Strong Pitching To Blank No. 24 Coastal Carolina
CONWAY, S.C. -- The Kent State baseball team rode the arms of redshirt sophomore left-handed starting pitcher Andrew Chafin (Wakeman, Ohio) and senior right-handed reliever Justin Gill (Canton, Ohio) to a 2-0 win Friday (March 11) over No. 24 Coastal Carolina at the Caravelle Resort Classic at Watson Stadium/Vrooman Field.
The Kent State (6-5, 0-0) victory over the tournament host Chanticleers (9-5, 0-0) marks the program's second over a ranked opponent in 11 games in 2011.
Chafin, who upped his record to 2-0 in three starts and has not allowed a run this season, earned the mound triumph after fanning six while allowing four hits and two walks over seven innings. He sat down the side in order in three of those frames. Gill was credited with his first save of the season after sitting down the side in order in both the eighth and the ninth innings.
"Chafin's throwing a lot of strikes, and he's really tough to hit right now," said seventh-year head coach Scott Stricklin. "He's throwing in the low 90s with a major league breaking ball. It's really big for Justin and for our team with how he came out and pitched today. He came back and threw the ball really well tonight, as good as I've seen him do so since last year.
Kent State's offensive attack was evenly distributed, as seven different Golden Flashes accounted for hits in the victory. Junior shortstop Jimmy Rider (Venetia, Pa.) extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a single in the seventh.
The Golden Flashes received all the runs they needed in the first inning. Senior right fielder Ben Klafczynski (Granger Township, Ohio) crushed a two-out home run to right center to get the scoring started. Junior third baseman Travis Shaw (Washington Court House, Ohio) followed the round tripper up by placing a double down the left field line. He scored on a two-bagger down the right field line by junior catcher David Lyon (Emporium, Pa.).
"Their pitcher is regarded as a guy who could be a high draft pick, so it's important to jump on a guy like that early," said Stricklin. "We swung the bats really well all day."
Coastal Carolina junior right-handed starter Anthony Meo was charged with the pitching defeat for the Chanticleers. He surrendered the two earned runs in the first inning, walked three and scattered seven hits over 6.1 innings. He fanned five in the loss.
Kent State continues its participation in the Caravelle Resort Classic Saturday (March 12) against UAB. Senior southpaw starter Kyle Hallock (Sandusky, Ohio) will start for the Golden Flashes. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.