Kent State Baseball Fights Adverse Conditions To Earn Victory Over Buffalo
KENT, Ohio -- The weather conditions certainly weren't ideal, but the Kent State baseball team dug deep and found a way to earn a 7-5 Mid-American Conference win today (April 22) at Olga A. Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium.
The Golden Flashes (24-12, 10-3 MAC) fought off relentless rain and a scrappy Bulls (7-26, 0-12 MAC) squad that forced a five-all tie heading into the bottom of the seventh inning. Kent State made its final push for the win when senior right fielder Ben Klafczynski (Granger Township, Ohio) ripped a one-out double to right field to chase Buffalo senior left-handed starting pitcher Josh Edwards from the contest. Senior catcher David Lyon (Emporium, Pa.) followed with a single to left. Klafczynski was able to scamper home courtesy of an error on the play to give Kent State the lead. Sophomore first baseman George Roberts (Summerhill, Pa.) stroked a double to right one out later to plate Lyon and give the Flashes a 7-5 edge.
Junior right-handed closer Kyle McMillen (North Canton, Ohio) entered the game with two outs and a runner on second in the top of the eighth and proceeded to strike out three of the four batters he faced to lock up the win and his 10th save of the season and 13th of his career.
Buffalo landed the first punch of the contest in the bottom of the second when junior right fielder Jordan Camp sent a two-run home run over the left field wall.
Kent State grabbed its first lead of the game with three runs in the bottom of the third. Sophomore center fielder Evan Campbell (Beloit, Ohio) placed a one-out base hit into left, and sophomore shortstop Jimmy Rider (Venetia, Pa.) followed with a single up the middle. Klafczynski drove both of them in with a triple to left. Lyon brought home Klafczynski by knocking a single through the left side to make the score 3-2 in Kent State's favor.
The Flashes expanded their lead to two runs when Roberts reached on a fielder's choice and scored on a double to left by Campbell.
Buffalo regained its advantage with three runs in the bottom of the sixth thanks to an RBI triple and another two run homer, but Kent State responded by trimming the Bulls' lead back to one in the bottom half when sophomore designated hitter Jason Bagoly (Austintown, Ohio) smacked a leadoff single and later scored on an RBI groundout by Campbell.
Redshirt senior right-handed reliever Brennen Glass (Springfield, Ohio) upped his record to 2-1 on the season, working 1.2 frames and striking out one while allowing one hit and one walk en route to earning the mound triumph. Redshirt sophomore left-handed starter Andrew Chafin (Wakeman, Ohio) fanned eight in 5.1 frames, allowing four earned runs on three hits and five walks.
Offensively, it was a well-rounded attack for the Golden Flashes, as Campbell, Rider, Klafczynski, Lyon and Roberts each posted two hits in the victory.
Kent State will go for the 1,500th victory in program history Saturday (April 23) as the Flashes and Bulls face off in a doubleheader beginning at noon. The Flashes need one victory to achieve the milestone and seal its fourth conference series win of the season. The squads were originally supposed to play one game Saturday and one Sunday, but the threat of more rain necessitated the Saturday twin bill. Senior lefty Kyle Hallock (Sandusky, Ohio) will start on the hill for Kent State in the first game, while junior southpaw David Starn (Hudson, Ohio) will follow in the second.