No. 28 Kent State Baseball Denied Series Sweep In Sunday Loss To Miami
KENT, Ohio -- The Kent State baseball team was denied a Mid-American Conference East Division weekend series sweep, falling to Miami, 3-2, today (May 8) at Olga A. Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium.
Ranked No. 28 in the nation by the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, the loss snapped a nine-game winning streak for the Golden Flashes (32-13, 17-4 MAC) and marked the team's first loss to a MAC East foe and second home loss of the 2011 campaign. Despite the loss, Kent State secured its sixth MAC series win in seven tries and third MAC East series triumph thanks to two victories over the RedHawks (27-20, 14-7 MAC), maintaining a three-game edge on Miami in the race for the conference's regular season title.
"You hate losing on Sunday because that's the game you remember and it resonates a little," said seventh-year head coach Scott Stricklin. "At the same time, we won the series, and we're leading the MAC by three games with six to play. If I were asked at the beginning of the year where I'd like to be, realistically, with two weekends to play, I'll take three games up on everybody. We're in great shape."
The contest was an intense pitching duel between Kent State left-handed starting pitcher David Starn (Hudson, Ohio) and Miami sophmore right-handed starter Brooks Fiala. Fiala scattered six hits over eight innings and gave up two earned runs while fanning seven to improve to 5-4 on the season. Senior left-handed closer Sam Dawes secured his eighth save of the season, sitting down the Kent State order in the ninth – including two strikeouts. Starn suffered a tough defeat, falling to 7-2 on the season despite striking out a career-high 11 batters. He allowed three earned runs on four hits in 7.1 innings of work.
Kent State struck first with a run in the bottom of the second. Freshman designated hitter T.J. Sutton (Uniontown, Ohio) placed a one-out single into left. Sophomore first baseman George Roberts (Summerhill, Pa.) doubled to center to drive Sutton home and give the Flashes the 1-0 advantage.
After Starn sat down the first 10 Miami batters – including seven strikeouts – Miami senior third baseman Brad Gschwind singled to left, and senior first baseman Kyle Weldon followed with a home run over the right field fence to put the RedHawks up 2-1 in the fourth.
Junior catcher David Lyon (Emporium, Pa.) answered right back for the Golden Flashes in the bottom half of the fourth, sending a two-out blast sailing over the right field fence to even the score at two-all.
After three scoreless frames, the RedHawks regained the lead in the eighth. Junior center fielder Ryan Brenner was hit by a pitch. Senior second baseman Jon Edgington singled through the left side. Both runners advanced on a double steal, setting up a sacrifice fly to right by Gschwind that allowed Brenner to tag up and score what proved to be the game's winning run.
Kent State hosts Xavier in its final non-conference game of the season Tuesday (May 10). First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.