Kent State Baseball Runs Win Streak To 12 Straight With Dominating Win Over Akron
Golden Flashes clinch fifth straight MAC series win and eighth of the 2012 season.
KENT, Ohio – The Kent State baseball team plated nine runs in the sixth inning, and four players posted multi-hit efforts in a 15-2 rout of Mid-American Conference East Division foe Akron Friday (May 18) at Olga A. Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium.
The victory over the Zips (17-37, 10-17 MAC) marked the 12th win in a row for the MAC champion Golden Flashes (36-17, 23-3 MAC) and sealed up Kent State's fifth straight MAC series win and eighth of season to close out the 2012 regular season campaign. The Flashes have won 27 of their last 34 games – including 16 of their last 18.
"Today was a complete win," said eighth-year head coach Scott Stricklin. "We pitched well, played great defense and had a lot of great at-bats."
Senior catcher and 2012 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award finalist David Lyon (Emporium, Pa.) crushed two home runs in a game for the third time in five games and fourth time in his career and led Kent State's offense with three hits and three RBIs. He upped his career home run total to 24. Senior shortstop Jimmy Rider (Venetia, Pa.) finished with a home run and double to go along with two RBIs and three runs scored, marking the 16th straight game he has hit safely. The MAC's all-time hits leader now has 332 for his career. Freshman center fielder Alex Miklos (Grove City, Pa.) hit his second career home run and added a single to go along with two RBIs and two runs scored. Junior first baseman George Roberts (Summerhill, Pa.) tallied two singles, two RBIs and a run scored.
"We had a lot of good swings today,' said Stricklin. "We hit a lot of balls hard."
Junior right-handed starting pitcher Ryan Bores (Strongsville, Ohio) fanned four over 5.1 innings and earned the pitching victory for Kent State to improve to 7-2 on the season. He allowed two earned runs on seven hits. Redshirt sophomore southpaw reliever Michael Clark (Akron, Ohio), redshirt freshman right hander Eric Dorsch (Gibsonia, Pa.) and redshirt freshman righty Dan Kopcak (Streetsboro, Ohio) combined to toss 3.2 scoreless relief frames to help close out the win.
"Ryan had a very good outing on a low pitch count," said Stricklin. "Michael, Eric and Dan are big guys for us out of the bullpen. It was good to see them throwing the ball well."
Kent State struck first with a run in the bottom of the first inning when Lyon blasted a two-out solo shot over the left field wall.
The Flashes extended their lead to 3-0 in the third. Miklos and Rider drew back-to-back walks to lead off the inning, and both advanced 90 feet on a wild pitch. That set the table for a two-RBI base hit to left center by Roberts.
Akron got on the board in the top of the fourth when freshman shortstop Matt Rembielak legged out an infield single and scored one out later when junior left fielder Jared Turocy served up a triple to right center to cut Kent State' s lead to 3-1.
Kent State answered back with two runs in the home half. Sophomore second baseman Derek Toadvine (Springfield, Ohio) beat out an infield single, advanced to second on a bunt by Miklos and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Rider plated Toadvine with a single to left. Rider moved up to second on another wild pitch, then scored on a base hit to left by Lyon to make it 5-1.
The Zips put the heat on the Flashes by loading the bases in the top of the sixth and getting a run back, but Clark came out of the bullpen to put out the fire.
"Michael had a great day," said Stricklin. "He got us out of that inning, then struck out the side the next inning. It's good to see him peaking at the right time."
Kent State's bats built off of Clark's momentum by plating nine runs in the home half. Fifth-year senior left fielder Joe Koch (Austintown, Ohio) drew a leadoff walk to set up a two-run blast over the left field wall by Miklos. Rider followed with another round tripper over the left field wall, and Lyon made it back-to-back-to-back dingers with a shot over the scoreboard in right field. Roberts cracked a single to left to keep the inning going, and freshman pinch hitter Tommy Monnot (Canton, Ohio) and sophomore right fielder T.J. Sutton (Uniontown, Ohio) followed by drawing back-to-back walks. Freshman third baseman Sawyer Polen (Wooster, Ohio) was hit by a pitch to bump home Roberts. Koch drew his second walk of the inning to send Monnot home. A fielder's choice that put Toadvine on allowed Sutton to score. Miklos coaxed a walk to put two on for redshirt junior pinch hitter Nick Hamilton (Avon Lake, Ohio), who capitalized with a two-run double down the left field line. When the dust settled, Kent State had increased its lead to 14-2.
The Flashes tallied a final run in the bottom of the seventh as sophomore first baseman Cody Koch (Sandusky, Ohio) hit a leadoff single to left, advanced to third on a fielding error by Akron redshirt freshman center fielder Devin Ahart and scored by way of a single to right by redshirt sophomore right fielder Troy Summers (Minerva, Ohio).
Akron freshman left-handed starting pitcher Pat Dyer was hit with the pitching defeat, falling to 3-5 on the season. He allowed five earned runs on six hits and four walks in four innings. He struck out two.
Kent State goes for its fourth straight MAC series sweep and seventh of the season when it hosts Akron on Senior Day Saturday (May 19) at 1 p.m. at Olga A. Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium. The Golden Flashes will have the opportunity to tie the 1992 squad for the most MAC wins in a single season in program history. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Tyler Skulina (Strongsville, Ohio) will get the start for Kent State and oppose Akron senior right-handed starting pitcher Alex Loftin.
Kent State will honor Koch, Lyon, Rider, right-handed pitcher Ryan Mace (Tallmadge, Ohio) and southpaw ace David Starn (Hudson, Ohio) in a pregame ceremony. The five seniors have helped Kent State win 163 games, two straight MAC regular season crowns, three straight conference tournament titles and reach the NCAA Championship Regionals three years in a row.