Kent State Baseball Dealt Loss By Central Michigan
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. -- Kent State redshirt sophomore left-handed starting pitcher Andrew Chafin (Wakeman, Ohio) dominated Central Michigan for eight innings; however, it wasn't enough, as Central Michigan rallied with runs in the eighth and ninth frames to beat the Golden Flashes, 2-1, today (April 15) in a Mid-American Conference game at Theunissen Stadium.
The loss ended Kent State's season-long 11-game winning streak (22-11, 8-2) as the Flashes also suffered their first defeat in the month of April.
"It was a tough game to lose," said seventh-year Kent State head coach Scott Stricklin. "Andrew Chafin certainly deserved to win, and we had our opportunities. We just didn't execute."
Chafin kept the Chippewas off balance all afternoon, twirling eight innings of four-hit ball while compiling 13 strikeouts with no walks.
"We thought he'd pile up some strikeouts because they're a very aggressive team, and he did," Stricklin said. "It was a tough day to pitch with the wind blowing all over the place. It says a lot about him and how tough he is."
After a scoreless first six innings, Kent State struck first in the top of the seventh inning. Junior third baseman Travis Shaw (Washington Court House, Ohio) bounced a ball over first baseman Brendan Emmet's head with one down to jump start the KSU offense. Then, with two down, junior catcher David Lyon (Emporium, Pa.) singled to left to place runners at the corners, and sophomore designated hitter Jason Bagoly (Austintown, Ohio) ripped a single to left to plate Shaw.
It looked like that one run would be enough with Chafin on the mound. After allowing a two-out single to Central Michigan senior shortstop Robbie Harman in the third, he sent down the next 15 Chippewas, and it looked like the southpaw was about to breeze into the ninth with two outs and nobody on base in the eighth.
However, one gust of wind changed all that.
Junior left fielder Sam Russell lifted a ball to right field that got caught in the wind and carried over Klafczynski's head for a triple. Senior pinch hitter Tom Howard followed with a double to left center to tie the game before Chafin escaped further damage with a fly out to center.
Kent State had an opportunity to retake the lead in the ninth and give Chafin his fifth win of the season as Klafcyznski singled off senior southpaw reliever Mike Nixon to start the inning and moved to second on Lyon's second sacrifice bunt of the afternoon.
Central Michigan called on sophomore left-handed closer Dietrich Enns to finish the ninth, and he ran into a bit of trouble. Enns uncorked a wild pitch to walk Bagoly and move Klafcyznski to third, but he was able to retire the next two batters to keep the game deadlocked.
"That's tough to take," Stricklin said of leaving men on base. "Their pitching staff did a good job of pitching them out of jams."
Senior right-hander Justin Gill relieved Chafin in the bottom of the ninth, and junior third baseman Tyler Hall led off the inning with a double to right. Senior first baseman Brendan Emmett advanced him to third with a sacrifice bunt. Gill fanned junior catcher William Arnold for the second out before senior right fielder Matt Faiman was intentionally walked. Sophomore second baseman Jordan Dean followed with a single to center to plate the winning run and hand Gill (2-1) his first loss of the season.
Enns got the win to improve to 3-1 on the season, while starter Trent Howard got a no decision, going seven and allowing one run on four hits abd a walk one while fanning 11.
The Flashes will have a chance to bounce back quickly as they take on the Chippewas again tomorrow (April 16) at 2:05 p.m. Senior southpaw Kyle Hallock (Sandusky, Ohio) gets the start on the mound for Kent State.