Flashes use strong finale to secure series win over Western Michigan


Sophomore Greg Lewandoski smiles as he stands on second base during Kent State’s game against Western Michigan on April 5. The Flashes won, 9-5.

John Conley

After managing just one run and five hits during Saturday’s game against Western Michigan, Kent State turned it around Sunday, scoring 15 runs against the Broncos to secure the series win.

The Flashes struggled at the plate Saturday, but found a way to break through Sunday.

“Today we got back on really attacking those guys and being aggressive,” third basemen Kian O’Brien said. “It’s really fun when you get the bats moving and 15 runs to show for it.”

Kent State moves to 13-16 on the year and 3-4 in the Mid-American Conference. The Flashes currently sit at sixth in the Mid-American Conference standings.

“Picking up a series win is always big, especially in conference,” catcher Pete Schuler said. “It’s about momentum moving forward and that’s what we need for the rest of the season.”

Head coach Jeff Duncan picked up his 200th win on Friday in a 9-5 victory.

Kent State collected 12 hits, two of which were home runs from O’Brien and junior Alex Ronnebaum.

O’Brien would finish 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored.

Senior Connor Wollersheim picked up his second win of the year, going six innings with a season-high nine strikeouts. Sophomore Tyler Drabick collected the save, going 2 ⅓ innings, striking out three.

“It’s been a really cool experience over the last five years,” Duncan said. “Having an opportunity to coach and have some really good coaches to help me along the way has made the relationships I’ve had with them awesome. We want to make sure we can continue this excellence.”

Kent State struggled in the Saturday matchup, losing 11-1.

The Broncos jumped out to a five run lead through the first four innings before the Flashes put up a run in the seventh.

Kent State got five hits on the afternoon with Ronnebaum tallying  the lone RBI of the game on a ground out.

Junior John Matthews picked up the loss in his eighth appearance, going 5 ⅓ innings with six strikeouts.

Western Michigan got six runs in the ninth to take game two, setting up the series finale.

“It’s just one game, we have to flush this game and learn from it,” Duncan said of game two. “I think we need to do a better job dictating the game. We came out on our heels and we knew they would hit the ball.”

The Flashes returned for game three with a different attitude, picking up the series win in the 15-3 win.

Kent State came out swinging, as the Flashes recorded season high 17 hits and a big six-run fourth inning.

O’Brien continued to swing the bat well, going 3-for-5 with a home run and a double, adding four RBI.

“It definitely helps when guys get on base,” O’Brien said. “It makes it easier for me, all I have to do is bring them in. It’s a lot of fun when those guys get on base for me.”

Schuler got the six-run fourth inning underway when he hit a bases clearing double with two outs. Schuler would end the day 2-for-4 with four RBI and two runs scored.

“That hit sparked us and from that point on, we got the ball rolling,” Schuler said. “The hits started piling up and guys were trusting each other that they would get the job done.

“That was a big momentum swing for us.”

Freshman Trevor Pittman got the start, going four innings.

He allowed five hits and an earned run while striking out three. Freshman Luke Albright came in relief for Pittman, going another four innings.

“We can say whatever about our mechanics and our approach, but our enthusiasm and our toughness was out the roof today, and I think that’s why we were able to win today,” Duncan said. “We had enthusiasm for every pitch and it makes it fun.”

The Flashes will hit the road for a single game at Canisus College on Tuesday.

John Conley is sports reporter. Contact him at [email protected].