Kent State Baseball Edges Pittsburgh
Campbell's RBI single in the sixth proves to be the winning margin for the Golden Flashes while Clark and Dorsch put together lights-out performances out of the bullpen against the Panthers.
KENT, Ohio – Junior center fielder Evan Campbell (Beloit, Ohio) provided the game-winning RBI-single in the bottom of the sixth inning, and freshman right hander Brian Clark (Munroe Falls, Ohio) and redshirt freshman righty Eric Dorsch (Gibsonia, Pa.) came out of the bullpen to nail down a 6-5 non-conference victory over Pittsburgh for the Kent State baseball team Tuesday (April 17) at Olga A. Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium.
The Golden Flashes (21-15) split the season series with the Panthers (17-18) thanks to the win, avenging a 6-5 loss on March 28 in Pittsburgh. Kent State has won 13 of its last 17 games and two straight.
"Brian Clark shut down a rally for Pittsburgh, and Dorsch came on and threw the ball well in the ninth to get the save," said eighth-year head coach Scott Stricklin. "I've got to tip my hat to those two guys.
Kent State jumped out to a 5-0 lead after five innings thanks to timely hitting and strong pitching by senior right-handed starting pitcher Ryan Mace (Tallmadge, Ohio) and redshirt sophomore southpaw reliever Michael Clark (Akron, Ohio).
The Flashes tallied their first run in the bottom of the first. Campbell led off with a single back to the mound, scampered to second on a wild pitch and scored two outs later on a throwing error that put junior designated hitter Jason Bagoly (Austintown, Ohio) on.
Mace retired the side in both the first and second, and Kent State's bats added another run to the scoreboard in the home half of the second to make it 2-0. Freshman third baseman Sawyer Polen (Wooster, Ohio) smacked a leadoff single to right and moved to second on a base hit through the left side by freshman catcher Tommy Monnot (Canton, Ohio). Redshirt freshman left fielder Troy Summers (Minerva, Ohio) then loaded the bases for Kent State when he was hit by a pitch. Polen was thrown out at the plate on a fielder's choice that put sophomore second baseman Derek Toadvine (Springfield, Ohio) on, but Monnot scored after Campbell lifted a sacrifice fly to right.
The Flashes made it 3-0 in the bottom of the fourth as Polen legged out a leadoff infield single to third and scored on a double by Monnot.
Kent State plated two more runs in the fifth. Senior shortstop Jimmy Rider (Venetia, Pa.) coaxed a leadoff walk. Redshirt junior pinch hitter Nick Hamilton (Avon Lake, Ohio) singled to center one out later, and sophomore right fielder T.J. Sutton (Uniontown, Ohio) followed with a base hit through the right side to plate Rider. Hamilton made it 5-0 when he tagged up and scored courtesy of a sacrifice fly to left by Polen.
Pittsburgh did not go quietly, though, scoring five runs in the top of the sixth to make it a brand new ballgame. The Flashes answered the challenge, though, in the home half as freshman left fielder Alex Miklos (Grove City, Pa.) got things rolling with a single through the left side. Toadvine moved Miklos to second with a sacrifice bunt, and Campbell followed by driving Miklos home with a single to right center.
Brian Clark preserved the Kent State lead and picked up his fourth mound victory of the season in doing so, striking out two over 2.1 scoreless innings and refusing to surrender a hit. Dorsch came on in the top of the ninth to sit the Panthers down in order and lock up his second save of the season.
Campbell, Monnot and Polen led Kent State at the plate with two hits apiece.
Kent State steps back into Mid-American Conference play this weekend (Apriil 20-22) for a showdown against West Division foe Central Michigan in Mount Pleasant, Mich.