Flashes drop series at No. 7 Arkansas, but pick up first top 10 win since 2012


The Kent State baseball team convenes following a game at Arkansas’ Baum Stadium. The Flashes lost the series, but picked up their first win against a top 10 team since 2012. 

Ian Kreider

The Kent State baseball team jumped out to early leads in all three games against No. 7 Arkansas this weekend; however, the Razorbacks were able to respond in two of them.

Kent State (7-5) faced perhaps their toughest opponent on their schedule this season against Arkansas (11-4).

“They’re very good; they’ve been picked by many to go to (the College World Series in) Omaha and even possibly win it,” Kent State coach Jeff Duncan said.

Game 1: Arkansas 7, Kent State 2

The Flashes jumped out to an early 1-0 lead when senior right fielder Nick Kanavas smacked a home run to left field. However, the lead was short-lived, as the Razorbacks answered with two runs in the bottom of the second inning when junior catcher Grant Koch homered down the left field line off senior pitcher Eli Kraus to make it 2-1 Arkansas.

The Razorbacks would score a combined five runs during the fourth and fifth innings. The Flashes struggled to respond as 10 batters struck out after the first inning (11 total).

“He has a really good arm,” Duncan said of Arkansas’ starting pitcher Blaine Knight. 

Game 2: Kent State 10, Arkansas 4

The Flashes attacked early on as two fielding errors by the Razorbacks led to two players on base for Kent State. Junior third baseman Pavin Parks doubled to right center, which scored Kanavas and senior center fielder Mason Mamarella, putting Kent State up, 2-0. Senior catcher Brad Hamilton knocked in Pavins on a single to center field to extend the lead to 3-0.

“We were able to have some really good at-bats early,” Duncan said.

Kent State was able to string together an entire game of solid plate appearances, and they were able to put the game out of reach late, scoring four runs in the top of the eighth inning to extend the lead to 10-3.

Sophomore pitcher Austin Havekost got the win for the Flashes. He threw 3 2/3 innings, striking out six while allowing no runs. The pitching staff held Arkansas scoreless for six innings en route to a 10-4 win.

The win was Kent State’s first over a top-10 team since the 2012 College World Series. 

Game 3: Arkansas 11, Kent State 4

Kent State again led after the first inning after a Pavin Parks sacrifice fly drove in senior left fielder Reilly Hawkins to make it 1-0. The Flashes continued to dominate through the fifth inning, extending their lead to 4-1.

However, as they had in the first game, the Razorbacks answered. They scored 10 unanswered runs from the fifth to eighth innings.

“We could have easily won two of three,” Duncan said. “We were right there.”

Kent State continues its season as they play a three-game set at West Carolina, starting at 5 p.m. Friday at Bob Walters Field at E.J. Whitmire Stadium in Cullowhee, North Carolina.

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