Hamilton’s homer lifts Flashes past Niagara
Facing another late-game deficit, the Kent State baseball team rose to the occasion with another clutch performance, this time from Nick Hamilton.
The junior third baseman blasted a two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning, and the Flashes defeated Niagara 8-4 Tuesday afternoon at Schoonover Stadium.
Hamilton’s home run, the first in his career, gave the Flashes their first lead of the game. Coach Scott Stricklin was not surprised to see Hamilton come through in another clutch situation.
“He’s been big for us that way,” Stricklin said. “He’s a good kid, he’s a hard worker and he’s really earned everything he’s gotten this year.”
With the win, Kent State improves its record to 24-16 this season, including a 9-2 record at home.
The Flashes fell behind early in the game because of fielding mistakes. A throwing error by freshman second baseman Sawyer Polen in the second inning allowed a Niagara baserunner to advance to second base. A triple and a single helped the Purple Eagles take a 3-0 lead.
Kent State responded in the bottom of the second after Hamilton reached base on a dropped fly ball. Polen followed up with a ground-rule double, and freshman catcher Jeff Revesz singled back up the middle to drive in two runs and cut into the deficit.
Neither team scored again until the seventh inning, when the Purple Eagles extended their lead with an RBI single. Momentum shifted back to the Flashes in the bottom of the inning, as a pair of singles set up a sacrifice fly by freshman first baseman Tommy Monnot that drove in a run.
Hamilton’s two-out homer gave the Flashes a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
“We started off slow in this game, but I thought we finished the game pretty strong,” Stricklin said. “I thought our kids really did a good job of executing in the later innings and found a way to win.”
The Flashes added to their lead in the bottom of the eighth inning. Sophomore second baseman Derek Toadvine led off the inning with a single to center field, and sophomore right fielder T.J. Sutton drove Toadvine in with an RBI double.
Senior catcher David Lyon came into the game to replace Revesz and hit an RBI single to left field. After Lyon stole second base, junior center fielder Evan Campbell smashed a double to right field to drive in Lyon.
Tim Faix, freshman left-handed pitcher, made his second start for the Flashes this season and allowed three runs, none of which were earned, on five hits in four and two-thirds innings. Sophomore left-hander Michael Clark pitched an inning and a third of relief and earned his first win of the season.
The Flashes will now travel to State College, Pa., Wednesday and attempt to avenge an early-season loss to the Penn State Nittany Lions. The game is scheduled to start at 6:05 p.m.