Flashes coast to home opener win over Youngstown State


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 had an unusual start to Tuesday’s home opener, falling behind, 2-0, to Youngstown State after two innings.

Prior to the game, the Flashes (10-6) had led after the first inning in six of their seven previous games.

The Flashes answered in the third inning. Senior center fielder Mason Mamarella hit a single that drove in junior shortstop Josh Hollander to cut the lead to 2-1. Later that inning, Mamarella stole second and the ball was overthrown, causing two runs to score. (Mamarella hustled from second to home on the error.) Kent State took a 3-2 lead heading into the fourth inning.

“Mason did a great job by hitting the ball to the right side through the infield,” said Kent State coach Jeff Duncan. “If that ball stays in the infield, we wouldn’t have scored on that play. It got us going. Mason’s the igniter.”

Youngstown State (2-16) gained some momentum after Kent State relief pitcher Zach Schultz walked Nick Caruso, but Caruso was thrown out easily while attempting to steal second by senior catcher Tim Dalporto.

“He made a great throw,” Duncan said. “He’s another guy who is just a great leader behind the plate.”

Youngstown State struggled to hit the ball. Kent State threw four pitchers who combined to allow just three hits. Senior Eli Kraus was awarded the win, improving to 2-2 on the season.

“After the second inning, we pretty much had a handle on things,” Duncan said. “We stopped giving them free bases.”

Dalporto got things started offensively in the fourth for the Flashes with a leadoff single. Freshman catcher Michael Turner crushed a triple on the next at-bat, which drove in Dalporto to make it 4-2. The Penguins made a pitching change, but Hollander was still able to drive in Turner off a single to center field to make it 5-2.

The Flashes later put the game out of reach in the sixth inning as they scored two insurance runs to extend their lead to 7-2, the score they would go on to win by.

Kent State will continue their season as they begin MAC play against Ball State (10-10) at 4 p.m. Friday in the first of a three-game series at Olga Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium.

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