Kent State baseball drops first NCAA regional matchup to Louisville

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Junior Joey Murray pitches in the first inning of their MAC tournament matchup against Central Michigan on Thursday.

Ariel Stahler

In an gam filled with high temperatures, strong winds and a plethora of runs, No. 3 seed Kent State found itself on the losing end against No. 2 seed Louisville in the NCAA Lubbock Regionals, falling 13-6.

The Flashes got on the board with one run in the top of the first inning. In the bottom half of the first, however, Kent State’s starter Joey Murray ran into trouble, allowing six runs before recording an out. With the bases loaded, Louisville’s Logan Wyatt smacked a grand slam to put the Cardinals up, 4-1. By the end of the inning, Louisville was leading 6-1. 

Murray also had a record-setting first inning, as he struck out Louisville’s Justin Lavey to set the single-season record for strikeouts in the MAC.

Nick Elsen led off the top of the second for the Flashes with a solo home run to make it 6-2. Louisville continued to give Murray problems in the second inning,  and he was pulled from the game with two runners on base and no outs. His replacement, Ryan Lane, surrendered a three-run home run to Wyatt.

Both teams were scoreless in the third and fourth innings. With two on in the fifth inning, Pete Schuler cut Louisville’s lead in half when he slammed a three-run homer. The Cardinals added two runs in the sixth and one run in the seventh to extend their lead to 13-5.

Adam Wolf, the starter for Louisville, was removed after Schuler tripled in the eighth inning. Schuler would eventually come around to score, but Kent trailed 13-6.

The temperatures were in triple digits for most of the game and the hot Texas sun shone down on the field. The weather continued to change as the game went on, and in the ninth inning, the wind started to pick up and it whistled through Dan Law Field.

The Flashes continued to battle with three runners reaching base in the ninth inning, but they could not score.

Kent will play No. 4 seed New Mexico State Saturday at 3 p.m. in an elimination game.

Ariel Stahler is a sports reporter. Contact her at [email protected]