Kent State Baseball Welcomes Penn State, Travels To Toledo In Non-Conference Play
April 3, 2012
vs. Penn State Nittany Lions (8-18)
Olga A. Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium (FREE ADMISSION)
April 4, 2012
at Toledo Rockets (12-14)
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Tuesday, April 3 • 3 p.m. ET
PROBABLE PITCHING STARTERS
KENT STATE: #29 Michael Clark (R-So., LHP, Akron, Ohio) 0-2, 7.20 ERA, 23 SO, 13 BB, 2 GS, 15.0 IP
PENN STATE: #39 Mike Franklin (Sr., LHP, Harleysville, Pa.) 2-1, 4.67 ERA, 16 SO, 14 BB, 3 GS, 17.1 IP
Wednesday, April 4 • 3:05 p.m. ET
PROBABLE PITCHING STARTERS
KENT STATE: #32 Ryan Mace (Sr., RHP, Tallmadge, Ohio) 0-2, 7.32 ERA, 20 SO, 6 BB, 2 GS, 19.2 IP
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION - PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS (8-18) • Big Ten Conference
Head Coach: Robbie Wine - Eighth Season All-Time Series: Kent State leads, 33-24.
• Kent State and Penn State battle Tuesday (March 27) at Olga A. Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium in the first contest of a home-and-home midweek non-conference series in 2012. The two squads will meet again April 25 in State College, Pa., at Medlar Field at Lubrano.
• The Golden Flashes won the only meeting between the two programs in 2011 in a 7-6 victory at Penn State on April 5. Then-sophomore first baseman George Roberts (Summerhill, Pa.) delivered a one-out RBI double in the top of the eighth inning to provide the winning margin. Junior right-handed closer Kyle McMillen pushed through a no-out, two-men-on situation to earn his fifth save of the 2011 season. Then-freshman right-handed reliever Dan Slavik (St. Clairsville, Ohio) worked 1.2 frames and fanned three to earn his first mound triumph as a member of the Golden Flashes (16-10, 5-1 MAC). Redshirt senior starting righty Brennen Glass tossed three frames of three-hit ball, allowing one earned run with one walk. He struck out a season-high five batters. Junior third baseman Travis Shaw remained red hot at the plate, going 3-for-4 – including a double -- with a run scored.
• Penn State lost 14 of its first 17 games in 2012 but has won four of its last eight. The Nittany Lions dropped a three-game Big Ten set to No. 19 Purdue, 2-1, in West Lafayette, Ind., last weekend (March 30-April 1) but closed the series on a high note by rolling to a 16-6 win in the finale. Penn State collected 19 hits, belted four home runs and plated seven runs in the third inning.
• Senior first baseman Jordan Steranka is Penn State's top hitter, batting a team-best .327 with a team-high 36 hits, eight doubles and 15 RBIs. The Nittany Lions bat .234 as a team.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION - TOLEDO ROCKETS (10-12) • Mid-American Conference
Head Coach: Corey Mee - Ninth Season All-Time Series: Kent State leads, 84-62-1.
• Kent State visits the Glass City with revenge on its minds Wednesday (April 4) as it invades Scott Park for the second game of its home-and-home series against fellow Mid-American Conference member Toledo. The contest marks the second time the Golden Flashes and Rockets will face off in as many weeks.
• A spectacular start on the mound by redshirt sophomore left-handed pitcher Michael Clark (Akron, Ohio) was spoiled by a late rally by Toledo that led to a 4-3 12-inning triumph over Kent State baseball last Tuesday (March 27) in non-conference action at Olga A. Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium. The Golden Flashes dropped their first home contest of the season with the loss to the Rockets and came out on the wrong side of their first extra innings affair since pulling out a 4-2 win over Texas State on June 3, 2011, in the opening game of the 2011 NCAA Championship Austin Regional in Austin, Texas.
The Kent State baseball team's 2012 campagin rolls on with two midweek non-conference games this week. The Golden Flashes (14-12) host Penn State Tuesday (April 3) at Olga A. Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium, then visit Toledo Wednesday (April 4) at Scott Park.
The Golden Flashes have won six of their last eight games and are coming off their second MAC weekend series sweep of the season after a 3-0 weekend at Ball State. Kent State maintained its grip on first place in the MAC East Division after surviving a pair of extra-innings affairs in the first two contests (7-4 in 10 innings Friday, 4-2 in 11 innings Saturday), then completing the sweep by running aweay with an 18-2 triumph Sunday (April 1). Four Golden Flashes finished with multi-hit games and six posted multi-RBI games as the Flashes scored a season-high 18 runs and pounded out a season-high 18 hits.
HOME, SWEET HOME
Every baseball program in America will talk of the benefits of playing at home, but in its first seven seasons as Kent State's yard, Olga A. Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium has truly been a home-field advantage for the good guys and a house of horrors for the opposition.
The Golden Flashes claim a 113-38 mark at Schoonover for a winning percentage of .748.
KENT STATE BASEBALL AT OLGA A. MURAL FIELD AT SCHOONOVER STADIUM
2006: 17-5 (MAC Regular Season Champions)
2007: 17-5 (MAC Tournament Champions, NCAA Columbia Regional)
2008: 16-4 (MAC Regular Season Champions)
2009: 18-5 (MAC Tournament Champions, NCAA Tempe Regional)
2010: 13-6 MAC Tournament Champions, NCAA Los Angeles Regional)
2011: 18-3 (MAC Regular Season & Tournament Champions, NCAA Austin Regional)
PLENTY OF FREE BASEBALL
Kent State played three extra innings games last week, finishing with a 2-1 mark. The Golden Flashes fell to Toledo, 4-3, last Tuesday (March 27) but rebounded with back-to-back wins in extras over MAC West foe Ball State in Muncie, Ind. Kent State earned a 7-4 win in 10 innings in the series opener Friday (March 30) and followed it up with a 4-2 win in 11 frames the next day.
The Golden Flashes are 23-10 in extra innings games in eight seasons with head coach Scott Stricklin at the helm, including posting a 7-3 mark in 2007.
Double Your Fun
Kent State is tied for third in the country in doubles with 69. Senior shortstop Jimmy Rider (Venetia, Pa.) leads the way with a team-high 15 -- good for third in the nation.
Kent State's team record for doubles in a season is 181, set in 2010. Kent State's individual record for doubles in a season 27, shared by Steve Smetana (1995) and Ben Klafczynski (2010).
Have A Seat
Facing Kent State pitching typically does not end well for opposing batters.
The Golden Flashes rank 19th in the country in strikeouts per nine innings with 8.5. Senior southpaw ace David Starn (Hudson, Ohio) leads the way with 48 strikeouts -- an average of nearly seven per game. Starn is seven strikeouts away from breaking Kent State's career record of 278 set by Dirk Hayhurst (2000-03).
HE'S GOT ICE WATER IN HIS VEINS
The bigger and more pressure packed the moment is, the higher senior catcher David Lyon (Emporium, Pa.) elevates his game.
Lyon added to his lore as the most clutch hitter in Kent State history when he sent a two-out, 0-1 pitch over the right field wall in the top of the 10th inning for a three-run home run to help push the Golden Flashes to a 7-4 victory in 10 innings in their MAC series opener at Ball State last Friday (March 30) in Muncie, Ind.
The 2012 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award nominee Sent a 2-1 pitch over the right field wall in the 12th inning to provide Kent State with a 6-5 win over Akron on May 20, 2011. Lyon came up with an even bigger hit -- perhaps the biggest in school history -- on June 4, 2011 against then-No. 5 Texas in the 2011 NCAA Championship Austin Regional. With Kent State trailing 2-1 with the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth, Lyon sent a 1-2 pitch sailing over the left field wall and into the Kent State bullpen to give the Golden Flashes a 5-2 lead with his second career grand slam.