April 13-15, 2012
at Bowling Green Falcons (12-20, 2-7 MAC)
Bowling Green, Ohio
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Friday, April 13 • 3 p.m. ET
• Kent State hits the road for a second time in conference play in 2012, visiting Bowling Green this weekend (April 13-15) for a three-game set against its Mid-American Conference East Division rivals.
• The Golden Flashes swept the season series in 2011, 2-0 (May 13-14). The third contest of the series at the Steller Field was rained out. Kent State rolled to a 17-10 victory in the series opener. The contest marked the second time in 2011 Kent State scored more than 15 runs and fourth time the squad tallied more than 15 with hits – collecting 18 against the Falcons in a performance in which every Kent State starter recorded a hit. Junior third baseman Travis Shaw led the hit parade, going 4-for-5 with three singles, his team-leading 13th home run of the season and four RBIs. Senior right fielder Ben Klafczynski and then-sophomore center fielder Evan Campbell (Beloit, Ohio) each added three hits. Kent State rode the arm of senior left-handed starting pitcher Kyle Hallock and the bat of Campbell to an 8-0 shutout of Bowling Green the following day to seal the series win. Hallock dealt a career-high 8.1-inning shutout of the Falcons and fanned a career-high 10 batters while Campbell led the charge with a career-high five base hits and drove in two runs as Kent State pounded out 17 hits.
• The Falcons are coming off of a 2-1 non-conference midweek victory at Michigan Tuesday (April 10) but have lost three of their last four after being swept by MAC East foe Akron last weekend (April 6-8) at Canal Park. Bowling Green sports a 6-1 record at Steller Field - including taking two of three from Central Michigan (March 30-April 1).
• Bowling Green's offense is powered by sophomore outfielder Andrew Kubuski, who is hitting at a .393 clip and is tied for the team lead in RBIs with 22.
The Kent State baseball team looks to extend its best start to Mid-American Conference play in program history as it hits the road for the second time in conference action this season to square off with Bowling Green this weekend (April 13-15) at Steller Field.
The Golden Flashes (19-13, 9-0 MAC) have rattled off five straights wins - their longest such streak of the season - and have come away victorious in 11 of their last 14 games and remain unbeaten in MAC play. Kent State posted its third straight weekend conference series sweep to maintain their grip on first place. Kent State pulled out a 5-4 walk-off thriller Friday (April 6) and followed it up with a 6-3 come-from-behind win next the day over MAC East foe Buffalo. The Flashes sealed the series sweep with another 6-3 win Sunday (April 8).
Kent State pounded out 17 hits – including eight doubles - and 11 players posted at least one base knock in a 14-4 non-conference victory over Youngstown State Wednesday (April 11) at Olga A. Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium.
Senior shortstop Jimmy Rider (Venetia, Pa.) led the hit parade with a double and two singles for his 14th multi-hit game of 2012. Freshman center fielder Alex Miklos (Grove City, Pa.) smacked two doubles while freshman catcher Tommy Monnot (Canton, Ohio), and freshman second baseman Sawyer Polen (Wooster, Ohio) each tallied a double and a single. Junior designated hitter Jason Bagoly (Austintown, Ohio) collected two base hits.
Kent State's pitching staff has kept up the tradition of dominance established through the years under the tutelage of 15th-year associate head coach/pitching coach Mike Birkbeck.
Entering the week, the Golden Flashes ranked seventh in the country in strikeouts per nine innings.
Kent State's weekend rotation of senior southpaw ace David Starn (Hudson, Ohio), junior right-hander Ryan Bores (Strongsville, Ohio) and sophomore righty Tyler Skulina (Strongsville, Ohio) have combined to tally 143 strikeouts while walking just 46.
Starn tallied a career-high 12 strikeouts – including fanning nine of the first 16 batters he faced – to surpass the 274 career strikeouts mark set by Dirk Hayhurst (2000-03) and move into first place in the school's record book with 280 strikeouts last Friday (April 6) in the MAC weekend series opener against Buffalo. Bores has fanned 39 while issuing just nine walks while Skulina has rung up 44 opposing batters. All three starters sport a 4-2 record through eight starts in 2012.
A question mark entering the season after losing the dominance of Kyle McMillen and Justin Gill to the 2011 MLB First-Year Player Draft, Kent State has found a wealth of capable depth in its bullpen in 2012.
Junior right-handed closer Casey Wilson (Sagamore Hills, Ohio) has collected four saves and sports a 1.96 ERA with 18 strikeouts and just four walks in 15 appearances this season.
Freshman lefty Brian Clark (Munroe Falls, Ohio) owns a 3-0 record in relief in 2012 with a 0.85 ERA in nine appearances out of the 'pen.
Freshman southpaw Tim Faix (Strongsville, Ohio) has yet to surrender an earned run in three relief appearances and one midweek start.
Redshirt freshman right hander Dan Kopcak (Streetsboro, Ohio) has struck out 10 while allowing just three earned runs in six relief appearances.
Senior righty Ryan Mace (Tallmadge, Ohio) has collected two saves in 2012.
Kent State entered this week tied for second in the country in doubles and has posted 88 on the season as a team. Senior shortstop Jimmy Rider (Venetia, Pa.) leads the way with a team-high 18. He was tied for fourth in the country entering the week. Rider also leads the team in runs scored (29) and is tied for the team lead in home runs (3), ranks second in hits (47) and RBIs (25) and fourth in batting average (.338).
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).
The heart of Kent State's batting order is sparked by arguably the best trio of roommates in NCAA baseball.
Junior center fielder Evan Campbell (Beloit, Ohio) is batting .385 with a team-high 50 hits -- including 11 doubles, a triple and three home runs.
Redshirt junior third baseman Nick Hamilton (Avon Lake, Ohio) is batting a team-best .500 and ranks fourth in hits (35), RBIs (18) and doubles (9).
Junior first baseman George Roberts (Summerhill, Pa.) is hitting .345 with 41 hits -- including nine doubles and three homers -- and has driven in a team-high 28 runs.