Vranesic picks up first career victory as Flashes down YSU on the road


Kent State senior infielder Dom Lero throws from second base to first base against Youngstown State on Tuesday April 4, 2017. Kent lost 11-6.

Nick Buzzelli

Joe Vranesic had never pitched in a regular season game in his collegiate career prior to Tuesday’s afternoon game.

The Kent State redshirt freshman took the mound as a reliever in a fall ball game in October against Malone University, but he hadn’t recorded an appearance — either as a starter or reliever — in any of the Flashes’ 31 games this season.

However, Kent State coach Jeff Duncan gave Vranesic the start against Youngstown State University and the right-hander made the most of his opportunity, giving up only one run while striking out four in five innings of work en route to his first career victory and the Flashes’ (20-12, 7-2 Mid-American Conference) 6-3 non-conference win over the Penguins (9-24) at Eastwood Field in Niles, Ohio.

Kent State began the game with three consecutive hits — back-to-back base hits by junior Mason Mamarella and senior Luke Burch and a junior Dylan Rosa double – and was able to take a 2-0 lead before YSU starter Javier Alvarez recorded his first out.

Four batters later, sophomore catcher Pete Schuler hit a double down the right field line on an 0-2 pitch to put the Flashes up by four, leading to Alvarez’s early departure from the mound.

On the other end, however, Vranesic was able to record four consecutive outs before surrendering his first-ever hit at the Division I level, a one out single to Youngstown State’s Nico Padovan.

But Vranesic, a native of Englewood, Ohio, then got the next two batters he faced to fly out to end the inning.

The only blemish on his first career start came in the third when the Penguins recorded their first run after stringing together an Anthony Rohan single and a Lorenzo Arcuri double.

Kent State then had two runs at the top of the sixth to extend its lead to four. In the bottom half of the inning, Vranesic was pulled in favor of right-hander Aaron Tadian, who let two runs across the plate on a Padovan single to left.

However, the Flashes’ bullpen of Zach Schultz and John Matthews were able to hold YSU scoreless from that point forward and secure the victory, Kent State’s first over Youngstown State this season after dropping an 11-6 decision at home on April 4.

Kent State looks to sweep its season series against the University of Pittsburgh on the road Wednesday at Charles L. Cost Field before returning to Schoonover Stadium this weekend to host University of Toledo for a three-game series. 

Nick Buzzelli is a sports reporter, contact him at [email protected]