Kent State Baseball Drops Weekend Series After Second One-Run Loss In Three Days To Central Michigan
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. -- The Kent State baseball team lost its second one-run contest in three days to Central Michigan, coming up on the wrong end of a 5-4 decision today (April 17) at Theunissen Stadium to drop the Mid-American Conference weekend series.
The Golden Flashes (23-12, 9-3 MAC) built an early two-run advantage but the Chippewas (18-18, 7-5 MAC) rallied late to steal the game and the series from Kent State. The defeat dropped the Flashes to 5-5 this season in one-run affairs.
Sophomore center fielder Evan Campbell (Beloit, Ohio) got the Flashes on the scoreboard first in the second inning after striking out to leadoff the frame but managing to scamper to first base safely on a passed ball. Redshirt junior left fielder Joe Koch (Youngstown, Ohio) singled Campbell home two outs later.
Junior third baseman Travis Shaw (Washington Court House, Ohio) made it 2-0 in favor of Kent State courtesy of a home run to right to lead off the third.
The Chippewas cut into Kent State's advantage in the bottom of the frame as junior center fielder Eric Wrozek smacked a leadoff base hit to center and later tagged up and scored on a sacrifice fly to center by senior first baseman Brendan Emmett.
Central Michigan evened the score at two-all in the fifth as junior third baseman Tyler Hall reached on a fielder's choice, then stole second and scored on a base hit to center by Emmett.
The Chippewas took the lead away from the Flashes in the ensuing frame. Senior right fielder Matt Faiman struck out but still managed to reach on a wild pitch to lead off the frame. Faiman scored two outs later thanks to an RBI double to left center by sophomore catcher Jordan Adams.
Kent State answered right back in the bottom half of the seventh. Freshman second baseman Derek Toadvine (Springfield, Ohio) singled back to the mound to leadoff the inning, then stole second base for his team-leading ninth steal of the season. Two outs later, Shaw delivered his second round tripper of the contest crushing the two-run missile off the left field foul pole. The blast tied Shaw with senior right fielder Ben Klafczynski (Granger Township, Ohio) for the team's season lead with seven.
After Central Michigan was unable to get anything going offensively in the eighth, it looked as if the Flashes would expand upon their 4-3 lead in the bottom half. Junior catcher David Lyon (Emporium, Pa.) led off the frame with a perfectly placed bunt single to third. He advanced to second on a failed pickoff attempt, then moved to third on a passed ball. Campbell coaxed a walk to put runners on the corners for Kent State but got caught in a rundown. Lyon attempted to take home plate on the play but was caught stealing to end the opportunity for more runs for Kent State.
The Chippewas made the Flashes pay in the eighth. Sophomore second baseman Jordan Dean struck out but reached safely on a passed ball. One out later, junior left fielder Sam Russell doubled down the left field line to plate Dean and knot the contest at four-all. Senior shortstop Robbie Harman delivered what proved to be the game winning RBI on a one hopper through the left side.
Kent State could not take advantage of Toadvine reaching safely after being hit by a pitch in the top of the ninth.
Shaw and Lyon led Kent State's offense with two hits apiece. Junior right-handed relief pitcher Justin Gill (Canton, Ohio) was charged with the pitching defeat, allowing two earned runs on two hits and a walk while falling to 2-2 on the season. He struck out two in 1.1 innings. Junior southpaw starting pitcher David Starn (Hudson, Ohio) fanned 10 in six innings while allowing three earned runs on eight hits and a walk.
Dean led all hitters with three singles for the Chipppewas. Sophomore lefty reliever Dietrich Enns picked up the mound victory, working three frames and fanning two while giving up one earned run on two hits and a walk.
The Flashes look to bounce back Tuesday (April 19), traveling to Cleveland State for a non-conference midweek game.