Kent State Baseball Hosts Niagara, Visits Penn State In Midweek Play
April 24, 2012
vs. Niagara (15-21)
Olga A. Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium (FREE ADMISSION)
April 25, 2012
at Penn State (18-21)
Medlar Field at Lubrano Park
University Park, Pa.
Follow on Twitter @FlashesBaseball
Tuesday, April 24 • 3 p.m. ET
PROBABLE PITCHING STARTERS
KENT STATE: #33 Tim Faix (Fr., LHP, Strongsville, Ohio) 1-0, 1.29 ERA, 8 SO, 4 BB, 1 GS, 7.0 IP
Wednesday, April 25 • 6:05 p.m. ET
PROBABLE PITCHING STARTERS
KENT STATE: #19 Ryan Bores (Jr., RHP, Strongsville, Ohio) 4-2, 3.88 ERA, 42 SO, 11 BB, 10 GS, 55.2 IP
PENN STATE: #11 Cody Lewis (Jr., RHP, Laguna Niguel, Calif.) 2-4, 6.59 ERA, 17 SO, 18 BB, 5 GS, 28.2 IP
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION - NIAGARA PURPLE EAGLES (15-21) • Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference
Head Coach: Rob McCoy - Fourth Season All-Time Series: Kent State leads, 5-0.
• Kent State and Niagara did not meet in 2011 after the threat of severe thunderstorms cancelled the contest scheduled to be played on April 26 at Olga A. Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium. The Golden Flashes beat the Purple Eagles for the fifth time in as many tries on May 4, 2010, in Kent in the last game between the two programs. The Flashes outslugged the Eagles in a 17-11 victory. Then-freshmen Evan Campbell (Beloit, Ohio) and Jason Bagoly (Austintown, Ohio) were among six Kent State players to post multi-hit efforts as each collected a double and a single. The Golden Flashes pounded out 15 hits while the Purple Eagles tallied 14.
• Niagara enters Tuesday's battle having lost eight of its last 14 games - including three straight. The Purple Eagles were swept at home at the hands of MAAC rival Fairfield, dropping the Saturday (April 21) series opener, 3-1, before losing both games of a doubleheader Sunday, falling in game one, 4-2, in 10 innings and coming up on the wrong side of a 13-1 ballgame in the finale.
• The Purple Eagles hit at a .301 clip as a team but the opposition has hit .327 against them. Senior infielder Eric Hink is one of five Niagara players batting better than .300, leading the squad with a .383 average and 59 hits. Redshirt junior first baseman Ryan McCauley is hot on Hink's heels, hitting at a .377 clip with a team-high 17 doubles, 12 home runs and 39 RBIs.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION - PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS (18-21) • Big Ten Conference
Head Coach: Robbie Wine - Eighth Season All-Time Series: Penn State leads, 5-4.
• Kent State and Penn State complete the annual home-and-home series between the two programs Wednesday in University Park, Pa. The Nittany Lions won the first round at Olga A. Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium on April 3, 9-7. Junior first baseman George Roberts (Summerhill, Pa.) cracked a career-high three doubles to go along with two RBIs and two runs scored, but it wasn't enough to overcome Penn State.
• The victory over Kent State is part of an 11-3 stretch for the Nittany Lions. Penn State earned a 2-1 Big Ten Conference road series win at Iowa last weekend, beating the Hawkeyes 5-2 and 2-0 in the first two contests before losing the Sunday (April 22) finale, 4-2. Saturday's 2-0 win was powered by the program's first no-hitter since 1995 as junior right hander Steven Hill blanked Iowa. He struck out three batters on the day and allowed a total of just two base runners, throwing 69 of his 105 pitches for strikes for his fourth consecutive victory and second complete game of the season.
• Penn State plays host to Mount St. Mary's Tuesday at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.
The stretch run of the 2012 baseball season kicks into high gear as Kent State steps out of Mid-American Conference play to host Niagara Tuesday (April 24) before traveling to the Keystone State Wednesday (April 25) to square off with Penn State in the second game of the home-and-home season series between the programs. Tuesday's game against the Purple Eagles at Olga A. Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium begins at 3 p.m. Admission is free.
The Golden Flashes (23-16, 12-3 MAC) bounced back from a 3-0 shutout loss in the Friday (April 20) MAC interdivision series opener to trump Central Michigan, 6-3, the following day and seal their fourth MAC series win in five tries in 2012 with a 6-4 Sunday triumph, marking Kent State's first series victory in Mount Pleasant, Mich., under eighth-year head coach Scott Stricklin. Kent State has won 15 of its last 21 games.
BIG TIME TIMMY JIM
Freshman southpaw Tim Faix (Strongsville, Ohio) makes his second career start Tuesday against Niagara. Faix earned his first career win in his first career start on April 11 against Youngstown State at Olga A. Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium. He struck out one in three innings of work as the Golden Flashes rolled to a 14-4 non-conference win over the Penguins. Faix is one of three pitchers on the Kent State roster to hail from Strongsville, Ohio, joining junior right-handed starter Ryan Bores and sophomore right-handed starter Tyler Skulina. Faix and Skulina were high school teammates at Walsh Jesuit under head coach Chris Kaczmar.
THE RECORD BOOK CONTINUES TO BE REWRITTEN
The Kent State baseball team has already witnessed one of the program's career records fall in 2012 as senior southpaw ace David Starn (Hudson, Ohio) became the school's new strikeouts king April 6 in a 5-4 win over MAC East Division foe Buffalo at Olga A. Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium.
Now, senior shorstop Jimmy Rider (Venetia, Pa.) is poised to do some record book editing of his own.
Rider is 10 hits away from surpassing Andrew Davis (2004-07) as Kent State's all-time hits leader. Rider currently owns 304 hits - 57 of which have come in 2012, which ranks second on the team. The 2009 Second Team All-MAC pick ranks fourth in the country with 19 doubles. Rider also ranks second on the team with 27 RBIs this season.
Rider, who is as consistent of a middle infielder as the Kent State baseball program has ever seen, already owns Kent State's career assists record with 671.
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 .364 with a team-high 59 hits -- including 13 doubles, three triples and four home runs.
Redshirt junior third baseman Nick Hamilton (Avon Lake, Ohio) is batting a team-best .420 and ranks fifth in hits (37), RBIs (21) and doubles (9).
Junior first baseman George Roberts (Summerhill, Pa.) is hitting .361 with 52 hits -- including a team-high five homers -- and has driven in a team-high 33 runs.
The trio has combined to post 37 multi-hit games for the Golden Flashes; a team-high 19 from Campbell, 18 from Roberts and 10 from Hamilton.
HE'S GOT CLASS
Thirty NCAA baseball student-athletes who excel both on and off the field were selected as candidates for the 2012 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. Among the elite? Kent State senior co-captain and catcher David Lyon (Emporium, Pa.).
To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition. The complete list of candidates follows this release.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
The 30 candidates will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season, and those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, Division I head coaches and fans who will select one finalist who best exemplifies excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition.
Lyon put together a career season last year, posting a career-best .315 batting average, .384 on base percentage and .538 slugging percentage with a career-high 75 hits, 36 runs, seven triples (most on the team, second in the MAC; tied with Matt Rundels, 1991 for most in a single season in school history), nine home runs, 27 walks, 53 RBIs and 128 total bases (third on the team, fourth in the MAC). He also led Kent State with 404 putouts, the eighth most in a single season in school history. He earned 2011 ABCA/Rawlings NCAA Mideast Region Second Team and Second Team All-MAC honors for his efforts. He earned All-NCAA Championship Austin Regional honors after he produced perhaps the most memorable hit in Kent State history to help down then-No. 5 Texas, 7-5, on its home field as the Golden Flashes earned their first regional final berth since 2001. 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. Lyon was named to the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team under Stricklin, who served as an assistant coach for the squad and helped the USA win three of five games against Japan.
Lyon is batting .286 on the season with 40 hits - including 12 doubles, two triples and four home runs. He serves as the backstop for a pitching staff that is among the top 10 in the country in strikeouts per nine innings.
Check out Lyon's Lowe's Senior CLASS profile here.
ON TO THE NEXT ONE
Kent State hosts Western Michigan this weekend (April 27-29) in its final MAC interdivision series of the season at Olga A. Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium.