Freshman pitching duo leads Flashes to second win over ACC team

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Kent State second baseman Greg Lewandoski tags out a would-be base stealer from Youngstown State during the Flashes’ 7-2 victory on March 20, 2018. 

Ian Kreider

Kent State proved it is equipped to win in a multitude of ways after their impressive 4-1 win over Pittsburgh.

Pitching has been the biggest question mark leading up to this point in the season. The Flashes came into Tuesday’s game averaging 10.1 runs over their last five games. Offensive output has been a staple of this team all season. The bullpen has been unable to put together a solid string of games; that is, until recently. In seven of the last nine games, the bullpen has limited opponents to three or fewer runs. The Flashes are 7-2 in those games.

The freshman pitching duo of Ryan Lane and Collin Romel were key contributors in the win. Lane started the game and finished with four strikeouts and one walk, while allowing four hits and only one run in 5.1 innings of work. Romel came on to close and finished with three strikeouts while allowing one hit in 1.1 innings.

Many of the team’s players are upperclassmen; however, Lane and Romel proved that they can not only contribute in the future, but also this season on a team with 10 seniors.

Part of Lane’s success could be attributed to the fact that Kent State jumped out to an early lead in the top of the first. The Flashes gave their true freshman an early 3-0 cushion after a two-out triple by junior third baseman Pavin Parks drove in a run, and sophomore designated hitter Patrick Ferguson crushed a two-run home run to right field.

Lane was able to hold Pittsburgh (17-12, 6-9 Atlantic Coast Conference) scoreless through five innings. Kent State added one more run in the seventh inning off a sacrifice bunt by freshman second baseman Greg Lewandoski to extend their lead to 4-1.

Kent State will continue its season Wednesday at 4 p.m. as they face Canisius (17-10, 6-3 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference). The Griffins are currently riding a three-game win streak, during which they have scored a combined 37 runs.

Ian Kreider is a sports reporter. Contact him at [email protected]