Kent State Baseball Evens Series With Central Michigan
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. -- Senior starting left-handed pitcher Kyle Hallock (Sandusky, Ohio) threw seven masterful innings to help the Kent State baseball team bounce back against Central Michigan with a win, 9-3, in a Mid-American Conference game at Theunissen Stadium on Saturday (April 16).
Despite battling poor weather conditions, Hallock fanned seven, walked one, allowed one earned run on eight hits to tie for the Kent State (23-11, 9-2 MAC) lead with his fifth victory of the season.
"Kyle Hallock was the difference," seventh-year Kent State head coach Scott Stricklin said. "He really performed well in tough surroundings. The wind was really blowing, and it was raining. The conditions were not favorable for baseball today, and I thought our players played really well through that."
The Kent State offense bounced back today after scoring just a single run in a 2-1 loss to the Chippewas on Friday (April 15). Junior shortstop Jimmy Rider (Venetia, Pa.) led the offensive attack with two hits -- including a double -- to go along with three RBIs. Freshman second baseman Derek Toadvine (Springfield, Ohio) also contributed two hits with a double and two RBIS to help pace a balanced attack that also drew nine walks.
"Anytime you draw nine walks and get that many baserunners, you're going to score some runs," said Stricklin. "I thought we were aggressive when we got pitches to hit, but, then, we had good at bats and drew some walks too."
The Golden Flashes were able to take advantage of free passes early in the game. Redshirt junior left fielder Joe Koch (Youngstown, Ohio) led off with a single before Rider and junior third baseman Travis Shaw (Washington Courthouse, Ohio) walked to load the bases. After two strikeouts, Central Michigan junior starting right-hander Zach Cooper balked to plate Koch.
Kent State tacked on another run in the top of the second inning. Toadvine singled with two outs and nobody on. Koch walked before Rider drilled a single to right to plate Toadvine.
Central Michigan capitalized on two Kent State errors in the bottom of the third to tie the game; however, Hallock fanned the last two batters to escape a first and second one out jam.
"He knows how to pitch out of trouble, and he limits the damage," Stricklin said. "That (the errors) could have rattled him, and he did a good job of overcoming that adversity. He's done a great job of that all year long."
Kent State immediately responded with four runs to break the game open. Sophomore center fielder Evan Campbell (Beloit, Ohio) reached on a fielding error and moved to second on throwing error on a pickoff attempt. Freshman first baseman T.J. Sutton (Youngstown, Ohio) was hit by a pitch, and Toadvine moved the runners over with a ground out to second. A passed ball allowed Campbell to score before the flood gates opened. Koch walked to place runners at the corners. Rider connected for a double to deep center to score two runs, and Shaw singled him home to make it 6-2.
CMU got a run back in the sixth on three straight hits, but the Flashes had another answer in the seventh. With two outs and the bases loaded, Toadvine smoked a double to plate two more runs and push the Golden Flash advantage to five.
"When a team gets a little bit of momentum, you have to stop that," Stricklin said. "We did. On the other side of that, when you score runs, you've got to go out there and put up a zero. We did a great job of that today."
The Flashes added one more in the ninth as Sutton had an RBI single for the ninth and final run.
Sophomore right-hander Casey Wilson (Sagamore Hills, Ohio) threw two innings of perfect relief for Kent State, while Cooper took the loss for Central Michigan
"Overall, with the circumstances, I thought we played very well," Stricklin said. "We can always get better, but I was very pleased with the way we responded."
The Flashes will look to take the rubber game tomorrow (April 17) at 1:05 p.m. as junior lefty David Starn takes the mound.