Kent State Baseball Splits Pair Of Games On Final Day Of Rock Hill Coca-Cola Classic
No. 9 Georgia Tech avenges opening day loss to Golden Flashes, but Kent State bounces back by routing host Winthrop.
ROCK HILL, S.C. – The Kent State baseball team split a pair of games on the final day of the Rock Hill Coca-Cola Classic Saturday (Feb. 18) at the Winthrop Ballpark, falling to No. 9 Georgia Tech, 6-2, but bouncing back to route host Winthrop, 11-3.
The Golden Flashes (2-1) were scheduled to play Winthrop again Sunday (Feb. 19), but impending deteriorating weather conditions forced a cancellation.
"Our goal going into every weekend is to win the weekend, and we did that," said eighth-year head coach Scott Stricklin. "We set the bar really high on Friday. I've never seen a team play as well as we did on opening day."
NO. 9 GEORGIA TECH 6, KENT STATE 2
Georgia Tech sophomore right-handed starting pitcher Dusty Isaacs kept Kent State off the scoreboard for six innings, and the Yellow Jackets (2-1) plated runs in all but four frames to bounce back from a 5-0 defeat at the hands of the Flashes the previous day.
Isaacs scattered five hits and walked one over seven innings and allowed two runs – one of them earned. He fanned three en route to earning the pitching victory.
Kent State junior righty Ryan Bores (Strongsville, Ohio) suffered the mound loss in his first start for the Golden Flashes, giving up five runs – three of them earned – on eight hits. He struck out two in six innings of work. He was relieved by senior right hander Ryan Mace (Tallmadge, Ohio), who tossed the final three frames and gave up one earned run on two hits and a walk while tallying four strikeouts.
"We made an error with one out and nobody on, and they scored three runs after that, so that hurt us," said Stricklin. "We helped them out a little bit, but you've still got to score runs to win. We competed and made it interesting late."
The Georgia Tech offense plated six runs on 10 hits and was led by a trio of sophomores. First baseman Daniel Palka finished a double shy of hitting for the cycle and tallied four runs and an RBI. Right fielder Paul Kronenfeld went 2-for-4 with a double and three RBIs, and center fielder Kyle Wren cracked a triple and a single and scored a run.
KENT STATE 11, WINTHROP 3
Kent State quickly rebounded from the loss to Georgia Tech by batting around and exploding for seven runs in the second inning and tallying 17 hits to cruise past the Eagles (0-2).
Six Flashes posted multi-hit games, led by four hits – including two doubles -- by senior shortstop Jimmy Rider (Venetia, Pa.). The Kent State co-captain scored a run and posted an RBI. Junior center fielder Evan Campbell (Beloit, Ohio) redshirt junior third baseman Nick Hamilton (Avon Lake, Ohio) each tallied three singles, a run scored and an RBI. Senior catcher David Lyon (Emporium, Pa.) crushed a solo home run and cracked an RBI single while Roberts tallied an RBI double and added a single. Sophomore second baseman Derek Toadvine (Springfield, Ohio) hit two singles and scored a run.
Sophomore right hander Tyler Skulina (Strongsville, Ohio) picked up his first collegiate pitching win in his first start wearing the Blue & Gold, striking out five in six innings of work and allowing three earned runs on seven hits. Redshirt freshmen right handers Eric Dorsch (Gibsonia, Pa.) and Josh Pierce (Avon, Ohio) and sophomore righty Dan Slavik (St. Clairsville, Ohio) all saw an inning of relief work each, with Pierce recording two strikeouts and Slavik tallying another.
"It was great to see Tyler on the mound," said Stricklin. "He's really talented and has worked very hard. He didn't have his best stuff and was still really good. As a pitcher, you're not going to have your best stuff all the time and have to find a way to work through that, and Tyler did just that."
Kent State is back on the diamond next weekend (Feb. 24-26), traveling to Nashville, Tenn., to battle Lipscomb.