No. 30 Kent State Baseball Readies For Non-Conference Doubleheader Duel Against Xavier
KENT STATE GOLDEN FLASHES (32-13, 17-4 MAC)
XAVIER MUSKETEERS (25-21, 10-8 Atlantic 10)
Tuesday, May 10 • Doubleheader (seven innings) • 2 p.m.
OLGA A. MURAL FIELD AT SCHOONOVER STADIUM • KENT, OHIO
INTERNET RADIO: KENTSTATESPORTS.COM (Ty Linder)
PROBABLE PITCHING STARTERS
Kent State: #17 Brennen Glass (Sr., RHP, Springfield, Ohio) 3-1, 4.00 ERA, 18 SO, 10 BB, 3 GS, 18.0 IP
Kent State: TBD
2011 MAC STANDINGS
1. Kent State 17-4 32-13 --
School MAC Overall GB
1. Central Michigan 14-7 26-21 --
KENT STATE PROBABLE STARTERS
THE HOMESTAND CONTINUES
The Kent State baseball team, the Mid-American Conference leader and 30th-ranked squad in the nation, according to Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, hosts Xavier in a non-conference doubleheader at Olga A. Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium. Both games will be seven-inning contests, with the first beginning at 2 p.m.
The Golden Flashes (32-13, 17-4 MAC) were originally scheduled to play one nine-inning game against the Musketeers (25-21, 10-8 Atlantic 10). The doubleheader runs Kent State's current homestand to five games. The Flashes took two of three from rival Miami last weekend (May 6-8) in a key MAC East Division showdown.
Kent State smashed and bashed its way to a 22-2 victory over host Xavier March 23 at Hayden Field in Cincinnati, collecting 20 hits en route to the romp. Kent State totaled at least 20 hits and 20 runs for the first time since a 20-7 thumping of Akron on May 22, 2010.
Senior right fielder Ben Klafczynski (Granger Township, Ohio) manhandled the Xavier pitching, going a career-best 5-for-5 with two home runs, six RBIs and four runs scored. He became the first Kent State hitter to post five hits in one game since Jared Humphreys did so against Eastern Michigan in the Mid-American Conference Tournament on May 28, 2010, became the first Kent State hitter to crush two home runs in one game since Anthony Gallas did so at Akron on May 21, 2010 and became the first Kent State player to score four runs in a game since current junior third baseman Travis Shaw (Washington Court House, Ohio) did so at Akron on May 22, 2010. Klafczynski is now batting .446 on the season and has hit safely in 16 of Kent State's 19 games this year.
Klafczynski wasn't the only one in on the hit parade. Shaw went 3-for-5 with five RBIs and four runs scored -- including the third grand slam of his career -- while redshirt sophomore pinch hitter Phil Smith (Kent, Ohio) smashed the first grand slam of his career. The grand slams marked Kent State's first since Klafczynski hit one against Eastern Michigan in the Mid-American Conference Tournament on May 28, 2010. Sophomore shortstop Jimmy Rider (Venetia, Pa.) tallied three singles with two RBIs and three runs scored, and sophomore catcher Jason Bagoly (Austintown, Ohio) added three hits with two RBIs and two runs scored.
While Kent State's offense was explosive, its pitching was equally dominant. Junior right-handed starting pitcher Ryan Mace (Tallmadge, Ohio) scattered six hits over five innings of work, allowing one earned run and walking two while totaling four strikeouts to improve to 2-1 on the season. Freshman righty Dan Slavik (St. Clairsville, Ohio), senior righty Justin Gill (Canton, Ohio) and junior righty Kyle McMillen (North Canton, Ohio) combined to finish off the Musketeers in relief of Mace, joining forces to throw the last four innings and limiting Xavier to one earned run on one hit and two walks while striking out six.
Kent State has won 23 of its last 27 games and seven straight. The Flashes have won at least 30 games for the 13th straight season and 24th time in the last 28 years – including all seven seasons current head coach Scott Stricklin has been at the helm. Kent State has won six of seven conference series -- including three straight intra-division series wins -- this season to maintain its grip on the overall conference lead.
AT THE POLLS
Kent State maintained its place place in the Collgiate Baseball Newspaper's Top 30 NCAA Division I poll, coming in at No. 30. The Golden Flashes entered one of the four major college baseball polls for the first time this season last week, coming in at No. 28. The Flashes were ranked No. 40 in the publication's preseason poll.
Collegiate Baseball Newspaper's Top 30 NCAA Division I Poll
3. Oregon State
4. South Carolina
7. Arizona State
8. Texas Christian
9. Georgia Tech
10. Florida State
11. Cal State Fullerton
12. Texas A&M
16. Miami (Fla.)
17. North Carolina
18. Southern Mississippi
21. Oklahoma State
22. U.C. Irvine
23. Fresno State
24. Coastal Carolina
30. Kent State
KNIGHTS OF THE NON-CONFERENCE
Kent State is solid in non-conference action, owning a 15-9 mark outside of MAC play -- including five straight victories.
The signature non-conference victory of the season was the first win of 2011 for the Golden Flashes. Kent State upset then-No. 19 Georgia Tech, 6-1, on Feb. 20. The victory marked Kent State's first over a ranked team since eliminating No. 24 Cal Poly, 10-9, at the 2009 NCAA Tempe Regional on May 30, 2009.
The Flashes blanked then-No. 24 Coastal Carolina, 2-0, at the Caravelle Resort Classic on March 11 -- the squad's second win over a ranked team in its first 11 games of the 2011 campaign.
Kent State's last non-conference triumph came April 27 against Cleveland State, a 6-4 victory for the Golden Flashes.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS
Kent State and Cleveland State have agreed to make up the April 19 game that was rained out.
The Golden Flashes and Vikings will face off next Monday (May 16) at 3 p.m. at Olga A. Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium. Cleveland State will be designated as the home team for the contest, as the washed out April 19 game was originally scheduled to be a home game for the Vikings at All Pro Freight Stadium.
The game will be the last between the Flashes and Vikings, as Cleveland State recently announced its intent to end the baseball program at the conclusion of the 2011 season.
Kent State holds an 13-2 record at the friendly confines of Olga A. Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium this season. The Flashes are 118-41 on their home field since 2004.
The Golden Flashes return to conference play this weekend (May 13-15) for a three-game MAC East Division series at Bowling Green.