Kent State Baseball Earns First Conference Series Win With Rubber Match Triumph Over Toledo
KENT, Ohio -- The Kent State baseball team manufactured runs and produced solid pitching to earn an 8-2 win over Toledo Sunday (March 27) and capture its first Mid-American Conference series triumph of 2011 by taking the rubber match at Olga A. Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium.
The Golden Flashes (12-10, 2-1 MAC) won Friday (March 25), 1-0, but Toledo (7-15, 1-2 MAC) responded Saturday (March 26) with a 5-2 victory to even the series.
Junior catcher David Lyon (Emporium, Pa.) finished a spectacular three-game stretch in grand fashion, going 2-for-3 with four RBIs and a run scored – including a three-run home run over the right field wall in the bottom of the second. Lyon finished the series batting a whopping .778 with seven hits – including two doubles and a homer – with six RBIs and a run scored. He posted a slugging percentage of 1.333 and an on-base percentage of .818.
Junior shortstop Jimmy Rider (Venetia, Pa.), junior third baseman Travis Shaw (Washington Court House, Ohio), senior right fielder Ben Klafczynski (Granger Township, Ohio) and freshman second baseman Derek Toadvine (Springfield, Ohio) all also finished with two hits apiece in Kent State's Sunday win.
Junior left-handed starting pitcher David Starn (Hudson, Ohio) kept the Toledo bats in check most of the day to up his season record to 3-1 and his career mark to 12-4. The southpaw tossed 6.1 frames of six-hit ball, allowing one earned run with one walk while fanning seven. Senior righty Justin Gill (Canton, Ohio) and junior righthander Kyle McMillen (North Canton, Ohio) combined to throw the remaining 2.2 frames, allowing one earned run on one hit and two walks while each struck out a batter.
Toledo plated the game's first run in the top of the first as senior shortstop Chris Dudics led off the contest with a base hit to center field and later scored.
The Flashes got right to work at climbing into the driver's seat in the home half of the frame. Redshirt junior left fielder Joe Koch (Youngstown, Ohio) coaxed a leadoff walk, and Rider followed with a single to right. Shaw reached on a fielder's choice that ended in a throwing error by Toledo that allowed Koch to scamper home and tie the game. Lyon gave Kent State the lead for good with a single through the right side that brought around Shaw and made it 2-1 in favor of Kent State.
Kent State did the bulk of its damage in the ensuing inning thanks to some two-out lightning. Rider provided the spark with a two-out single through the left side. Shaw reached on a fielder's choice to put two men on. Klafczynski drove in Rider with a two bagger to left center. That set up Lyon's three-run round tripper that increased Kent State's advantage to five at 6-1.
The scoreboard read 7-1 after five frames after a throwing error by the Rockets gave Kent State extra life, as freshman first baseman Cody Koch (Sandusky, Ohio) drew a one-out walk and later scored on a sacrifice bunt by Joe Koch.
Toledo sliced Kent State's lead to five with a run in the top of the seventh, but the Flashes answered right back in the bottom portion after Cody Koch was hit by a pitch and later scored thanks to a single to left by Toadvine.
Toledo junior right-handed starting pitcher Lincoln Rassi fell to 0-4 on the season, lasting 2.0 innings with six earned runs on seven hits and one walk. He fanned one in defeat. Junior third baseman Joe Corfman led the Rockets at the plate two singles.
Kent State closes out the March portion of its 2011 schedule with its first midweek home game of the season, hosting Penn State Wednesday (March 30) at Schoonover Stadium. First pitch is penciled in for 3 p.m.