Kent State Baseball Heads North For MAC Interdivision Showdown At Central Michigan
April 20-22, 2012
at Central Michigan Chippewas (16-22, 6-6 MAC)
Mt. Pleasant, Mich.
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Friday, April 20 • 3 p.m. ET
PROBABLE PITCHING STARTERS
KENT STATE: #37 David Starn (Sr., LHP, Hudson, Ohio) 4-2, 1.99 ERA, 69 SO, 20 BB, 9 GS, 58.2 IP
CENTRAL MICHIGAN: #33 Zach Cooper (Sr., RHP, Hartland, Mich.) 3-3, 3.13 ERA, 59 SO, 34 BB, 9 GS, 60.1 IP
Saturday, April 21 • 1 p.m. ET
PROBABLE PITCHING STARTERS
KENT STATE: TBA
CENTRAL MICHIGAN: #38 Pat Kaminska (Jr., RHP, Phoenix, Ariz.) 2-1, 2.97 ERA, 22 SO, 8 BB, 2 GS, 33.1 IP
Sunday, April 22 • 1 p.m. ET
PROBABLE PITCHING STARTERS
KENT STATE: #31 Tyler Skulina (So., RHP, Strongsville, Ohio) 4-2, 4.74 ERA, 49 SO, 25 BB, 9 GS, 49.1 IP
CENTRAL MICHIGAN: #31 Rick Dodridge (Jr., LHP, West Branch, Mich.) 1-4, 5.95 ERA, 31 SO, 23 BB, 9 GS, 42.1 IP
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION - CENTRAL MICHIGAN CHIPPEWAS (16-22, 6-6 MAC)
Head Coach: Steve Jaksa - 10th Season All-Time Series: Central Michigan leads, 53-42.
• Kent State heads north for its third Mid-American Conference road series of the 2012 season, visiting Central Michigan for an interdivision showdown this weekend (April 20-22).
• Kent State's lone MAC series loss of the 2011 season came in Mt. Pleasant, Mich., at the hands of Central Michigan. The Golden Flashes suffered two-one losses against the Chippewas. Kent State bounced back from a 2-1 loss in the series opener April 15 by rolling to a 9-3 triumph the following day, but the Flashes dropped the series finale, 5-4, to lose the series. Then-redshirt junior left fielder Joe Koch (Austintown, Ohio) finished the three-game set batting .333 with four hits.
• The Chippewas suffered a tough road MAC West road series loss at Eastern Michigan last weekend (April 13-15). Central Michigan was blanked in the series lid lifter, 4-0. The Chippewas responded with an 8-6 victory the next day, but Eastern Michigan sealed the series win with an 8-7 triumph in the finale. Central Michigan split a pair of midweek games this week, routing Oakland, 15-4, on Tuesday (April 17) but falling the following day to Michigan State, 11-1.
• Junior infielder Jordan Dean paces Central Michigan's bats with a .376 batting average and 64 hits -- including a team-high six home runs.
The Kent State baseball team looks to maintain its hold on first place in the race for the 2012 Mid-American Conference regular season crown as it travels north to face Central Michigan this weekend (April 20-22) in a key interdivision showdown.
The Golden Flashes (21-15, 10-2 MAC) have won 13 of their last 17 games and two straight. Kent State dropped its first MAC series of the season after falling in the first two games of a three-game East Division weekend set at Bowling Green, but bounced back in a big way by posting a 31-20 win in the series finale. Kent State downed Pittsburgh, 6-5, Tuesday (April 17) in its only non-conference midweek contest this week.
WELCOME TO K-VILLE
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 eighth 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 160 strikeouts while walking just 56.
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 in the MAC weekend series opener against Buffalo on April 6. Bores has fanned 42 while issuing just 11 walks while Skulina has rung up 49 opposing batters. All three starters sport a 4-2 record through nine starts in 2012.
PACKING SOME PUNCH
Kent State's offense is among the most prolific in the counrty, ranking first in the nation in doubles and sacrifice flies, 10th in hits, 23rd in slugging percentage, 26th in batting average and 27th in runs per game.
Senior shortstop Jimmy Rider (Venetia, Pa.) was tied for fourth in the country in doubles entering the week. He has piled up 18 on the season. Rider also leads the team in runs scored (35) and ranks second in hits (53) third in RBIs (26) and fifth in batting average (.335).
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).
BEST ROOMMATES EVER
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 .389 with a team-high 58 hits -- including 12 doubles, three triple and four home runs.
Redshirt junior third baseman Nick Hamilton (Avon Lake, Ohio) is batting a team-best .435 and ranks fourth in hits (37), RBIs (21) and doubles (9).
Junior first baseman George Roberts (Summerhill, Pa.) is hitting .364 with 48 hits -- including a team-high five homers -- and has driven in a team-high 31 runs.