No. 28 Kent State Baseball Asserts Self As MAC Leader In Rout Of Miami
KENT, Ohio -- The Kent State baseball team continued to pad its lead in the race for the Mid-American Conference regular season crown, crushing East Division foe Miami, 14-1, today (May 7) at Olga A. Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium to win the weekend series.
Ranked No. 28 in the nation by the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, the Golden Flashes (32-12, 17-3 MAC) have rattled off nine straight wins and have come away victorious in 24 of its last 28 contests. The Flashes have won six of their seven MAC series and all three of their East Division series so far this season, going 8-0 in intra-division play. The Golden Flashes are 13-1 at the friendly confines of Olga A. Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium.
"We've put ourselves in a good position in the conference," said seventh-year head Scott Stricklin. "Tomorrow will be a big game because it is do-or-die for them, but it's good to get the first two. Now you've got to try to get greedy and go for the sweep."
Senior left-handed starting pitcher Kyle Hallock (Sandusky, Ohio) threw a three-hit gem over 7.1 innings. He fanned seven and allowed one earned run and one walk en route to picking up his team and conference leading eighth victory of the 2011 season. Hallock, who sat down 12 in a row at one point during the contest, has won six straight starts.
"This was a big game for us," said Hallock. "With Miami in second place, we've looked at every game against them as a MAC Championship. We really want to beat these guys. It means a lot because they took two out of three from us last year, so it's nice to watch them leave the field not as happy as we are."
Sophomore first baseman George Roberts (Summerhill, Pa.) and junior catcher David Lyon (Emporium, Pa.) posted three hits apiece to power a Kent State offense that compiled 15 hits. Junior third baseman Travis Shaw (Washington Court House, Ohio) and sophomore center fielder Evan Campbell (Beloit, Ohio) each added two hits.
Kent State struck early and often, plating the first run of the contest in the bottom of the first. Junior shortstop Jimmy Rider (Venetia, Pa.) cracked a one-out double to center, and Shaw followed by coaxing a walk. Senior right fielder Ben Klafczynski (Granger Township, Ohio) reached on a fielder's choice, and a fielding error on the play allowed Shaw to occupy second and load the bases. Sophomore designated hitter Jason Bagoly (Austintown, Ohio) drew a walk to bump home Rider.
The Flashes tallied three more runs in the ensuing frame. Redshirt junior left fielder Joe Koch (Youngstown, Ohio) led off the frame with a base hit to left. Campbell placed a single into center field one out later, and Koch advanced to third on a fielding error. Rider perfectly executed a squeeze play to bring in Koch. That brought Shaw to the plate, who sent a two-run homer over the center field fence to put Kent State up four.
Kent State broke the game open with a six-run fourth inning. Toadvine got things started with a single to third. Campbell reached on a throwing error that moved Toadvine to third. Toadvine tagged up and scored on a sacrifice fly to right by Rider. Shaw drew a walk and Klafczynski was hit by a pitch to fill the bags with Flashes. Lyon delivered a two-RBI base hit to left to bring home Campbell and Shaw. That set the stage for the first collegiate home run of Roberts' career, a three-run blast over the right field wall.
The Flashes made it 13-0 in the fifth. Campbell hit a one-out single up the middle. Shaw singled to right one out later. Klafczynski brought both home by ripping a triple to left. Klafczynski scored on a double down the left field line by Lyon.
Kent State tallied its final run in the sixth when Koch reached on a fielder's choice and later scored on a fielding error.
Kent State shoots for the sweep of the RedHawks Sunday (May 7). Junior southpaw David Starn (Hudson, Ohio) will make the start for the Golden Flashes. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.
• Former Kent State baseball player and 1972 graduate Tom Cole threw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to today's game.
Now the senior-most operations executive at Macy's, Inc., chief administrative officer, Cole oversees the company's retail support division and is charged with managing complex tasks and leading multi-divisional teams across the company. Cole will be Kent State's Starner Distinguished Speaker on Sept. 27.
• The Kent State baseball team recognized senior right-handed pitcher Brennen Glass for being part of the spring 2011 graduating class.
Prior to transferring to Kent State, Glass played baseball and football at Grand Valley State University for two years and was part of the Lakers 2006 football squad that went 13-0 and won the Division II national title.
In two seasons as a right-handed pitcher for the Golden Flashes, the Springfield, Ohio, native has compiled a 7-1 record, making 31 appearances and nine starts and totaling 62 strikeouts. Glass helped Kent State win its second straight MAC Tournament title and reach the NCAA Los Angeles Regional in 2010.