Flashes’ offensive firepower plays key role in sweep over Western Michigan

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Senior Eli Kraus started the game for Kent State on March 25, 2018, to end the weekend series agianst Ball State. The Flashes lost, 7-2.

Ian Kreider

Kent State struggled to produce runs in their last series against Notre Dame, a two-game split; however, that was not the case in their sweep over Western Michigan this weekend.

The Flashes (15-9, 4-2 Mid-American Conference) combined to score 25 runs in three games against the Broncos (11-14, 1-5 MAC), including an 11-run blowout in their last game of the series on Sunday.

Game 1: Kent State 6, Western Michigan 2

After a slow first inning, Kent State was able to get on the board in the top of the second. Junior third baseman Pavin Parks led off the inning with a double down the right field line to spark the offense. Senior first baseman Brad Hamilton struck out swinging; however, he was able to reach first on a wild pitch, which also advanced Parks to third. Parks scored after a sacrifice fly by junior shortstop Josh Hollander. This put the Flashes on the board 1-0.

Both teams were in a stalemate until the bottom of the fourth inning when Broncos junior left fielder Nate Grys smacked a solo home run to center field to knot it up at 1.

The Flashes pulled away in the sixth inning after Parks hit a three-run home run to help Kent State take a commanding 4-1 lead. Hollander doubled to right center to drive in another run to extend the lead to 5-1 heading into the bottom of the inning.

Kent State’s bullpen allowed only one more run in the bottom of the seventh. The Flashes went on to win, 6-2, despite having less hits (seven) than the Broncos (eight).

Game 2: Kent State 8, Western Michigan 3

The Flashes continued their offensive dominance in the second game of the series. They jumped out to an early 2-0 lead after the first inning. Kent State was able to get into a good position after two patient at-bats by senior right fielder Nick Kanavas and senior center fielder Mason Mamarella put two runners on with no outs. Two strikeouts followed the successful start to the inning.

This brought up senior catcher Tim Dalporto. He was as patient as his two teammates were earlier in the inning, drawing a walk to load the bases. Senior left fielder Reilly Hawkins hit a single through the left side of the infield, scoring both Kanavas and Mamarella to give the Flashes the early lead.

They added two more runs in the top of the fifth, and then they poured on four more insurance runs in the top of the ninth to put the game out of reach.

Game 3: Kent State 12, Western Michigan 6

Kent State again jumped out to an early lead, taking a 3-0 advantage after one inning. They scored six unanswered runs through 5.5 innings before a two-run inning by the Broncos in the bottom of the sixth.

The Flashes added five runs in the top of the seventh and went on to win, 12-6.

The team had 15 hits, which was the most they have had in a game since Feb. 23 against Belmont.

The team will continue their season when they take on Bowling Green (8-19, 3-3 MAC) at 4 p.m. on Tuesday at Olga Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium as a part of a one-game homestand before a five-game road trip.

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