The independent news website of The Kent Stater & TV2


The independent news website of The Kent Stater & TV2


The independent news website of The Kent Stater & TV2


Follow KentWired on Instagram
Today’s Events

Baseball struggles in Steel City scramble

Cadie Pierce
Junior Left Fielder Jake Casey and Kolton Schaller high five right after both score on a Reese double during the Golden Flashes’ 27-0 blowout of Youngstown State on March 12, 2024.

The Kent State baseball team was facing a 7-3 deficit going into the top of the seventh inning against Pittsburgh on Tuesday.

The Flashes were looking to get back on track after a 1-2 weekend series record against Ohio University.

Junior right fielder Jake Casey started the rally by plating a run on a bases-loaded walk to bring the score to 7-4.

A big opportunity presented itself for redshirt junior left fielder Lance Macdonald, who was next up to the plate and batted in KSU’s ninth spot.

The bases were still loaded with two outs.

After a pitching change from Pitt, Macdonald cranked the first pitch he saw, and the ball went over the right field wall, giving the Flashes four go-ahead runs and an 8-7 lead.

The five-run inning held for a little bit until the bottom of the eighth inning, when Pitt got its footing back.

The Panthers clawed back with a five-run inning of their own.

KSU could not regain the lead and lost its third of four games in another late-inning breakdown.

With the 12-8 loss, the Flashes fell further under .500 to 9-11. With a 4-2 record in the Mid-American Conference, KSU remained in place as the third seed in the conference.

The Flashes have given up 12 runs in the eighth inning or later in the last four games.

The pitching staff has also allowed nine runs or more in three of the last four games.

Game recap

Pitching has not been strong for Kent State in the team’s past four games, although redshirt sophomore starter Rocco Bernadina got the start and tried to repeat the success he has had.

Last time out, Bernadina got the win despite only pitching for three innings in KSU’s 27-0 domination over Youngstown State. He gave up one hit and one walk while allowing zero earned runs and had four strikeouts.

Bernadina was met with opposition early in Tuesday’s game.

In the first inning, Pitt was able to get on the board with an RBI single.

KSU struggled to get the offense going but produced runs in the third inning with a Casey solo shot to tie the game at 1-1.

Casey hit the ball well over the right-center field wall as it went 491 feet.

Senior first baseman Tim Orr used a fielder’s choice to give KSU a one-run advantage.

Pitt promptly retook the lead with a sacrifice fly and an RBI double down the right field line in its part of the third inning.

KSU had a quiet fourth inning, but Bernadina got into trouble and only faced two batters in his half of the inning.

Pitt added three more runs with one swing of the bat: a three-run blast to left field.

The Panthers took a commanding 6-2 lead after four innings.

Bernadina’s day on the mound was over. He pitched for three innings, allowing seven hits, three walks, five earned runs, and three strikeouts.

The offense cut the lead by one run on another fielder’s choice from Orr.

Pitt gained that run back in the bottom of the fifth inning on an RBI single to right field, making it 7-3.

Pitt used two walks, an RBI single and a two-RBI single to give itself the lead and three insurance runs.

Kent State’s offensive outburst in the seventh inning was not supported by late-game pitching, the Flashes were unable to gain traction in the ninth inning, and the team lost to Pitt 12-8.

After Bernadina’s exit, KSU used five relief pitchers.

The loss was credited to freshman Jacob Bean.

The reliever pitched for one inning and surrendered three critical runs on one hit and three walks.

The five relievers allowed seven runs, five hits, seven walks and only five strikeouts in five innings.

Macdonald and Orr had key contributions to the Flashes offense.

Macdonald’s two-out grand slam gave KSU the lead at the time, but he also added a single, finishing 2-4 on the day with four RBIs in his eighth appearance of the season.

Orr had a couple of RBIs on two fielder’s choices and had a single as well in his 1-5 day at the plate.

Looking ahead

The Flashes will return home to Schoonover Stadium Friday for a three-game series against Saint Joseph’s.

The series will run from Friday through Sunday.

Saint Joseph’s has lost five of its last eight games and is a struggling 2-6 away from home.

The Hawks are 8-9 on the season and have not played an in-conference game yet.

KSU has not played SJU since the 2020 season. The Flashes came out as victors in an 11-3 win.

Junior Jack Kartsonas is scheduled to be game one’s starter Friday.

Last time out, Kartsonas pitched in KSU’s game one 9-4 loss to OU.

He pitched for 4.1 innings, allowing three earned runs on six hits, four walks and four strikeouts. 

He was not credited with the loss that game, and Kartsonas will come into the game with a 2-2 record and an 8.10 ERA.

Friday’s first pitch is slated for 3 p.m.

The return back is needed for Kent State, as the team is 5-0 at the home diamond.

The team is outscoring opponents 64-13, and the Flashes will look to extend their 19-game home winning streak.

John Hilber is assistant sports editor. Contact him at [email protected].

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
John Hilber, Reporter
John is a sophomore majoring in journalism with a minor in psychology. This is his second year with the KentWired team as a sports reporter. Contact him at [email protected].
Cadie Pierce, Photographer
Cadie Pierce (she/they) is a Senior Integrative Studies major and Photojournalism minor and staff photographer for KentWired/Kent Stater. Cadie can be reached at [email protected].

Comments (0)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *