Flashes’ bats held in-check by Penguins


Kent State redshirt senior outfielder Luke Burch attempts to bunt the ball in against Youngstown State on Tuesday April 4, 2017. Kent would go on to lose 11-6 to Youngstown. 

Scott Lendak

The Kent State baseball team (17-9) fell 11-6 to Youngstown State (7-18) in a non-conference game Tuesday, and coach Jeff Duncan was disappointed with how his team played.

“We didn’t do a good enough job offensively like we’re capable,” Duncan said. “They got strikeouts when they needed it, and we had costly mistakes in the early innings. We botched some balls that extended innings, and that ultimately hurt us.”

Youngstown State had 13 hits to go along with five walks and three hit-by-pitches. Three Youngstown State players recorded three hits. Duncan said he wasn’t pleased with how the team played at home. 

“It was definitely a tough day today,” Duncan said. “We didn’t play very well. You want to protect your home turf and take care of business here at home, but you have to give Youngstown State credit. They’ve taken some games from us the past few years, and it doesn’t feel good.”

Duncan added that Youngstown State plays with what he feels is great intensity every time they meet the Flashes.

“They play really hard when we see them,” Duncan said. “They have a certain will to win when they face us. I don’t necessarily think we came out flat today. Every time we scored, they came back and scored a few more runs. That was the difference in the game.” 

Junior Reilly Hawkins highlighted the Flashes offensively with three hits and one run batted in. Senior second baseman Dom Iero was also strong offensively with two hits and one RBI.   

“My approach pretty much stays the same for every at-bat,” Iero said. “I made a minor adjustment and narrowed up today. I try to hit the ball hard up the middle. I just do my best to try to come up big for my team.”

The game against the Penguins was after a conference series with Buffalo and a day before the team travels to Ohio State University to take on the Buckeyes. Duncan said that despite the game against Ohio State, the team didn’t look past Youngstown State. 

“It shouldn’t be difficult to play a mid-week game like this,” Duncan said. “They had a day off yesterday, so they should have been well rested and prepared mentally.”

Iero reiterated that the upcoming Ohio State game had no effect on the team’s concentration and effort.

“We do our best to take every game one at a time,” Iero said. “We had a day off yesterday, so I think we were all itching to play today just as much as we want to play tomorrow against Ohio State. We’ll come out tomorrow with the same attitude and approach, and hopefully it goes our way.”

Freshman Austin Havekost started the game on the mound and lasted just 3 1/3 innings and gave up four earned runs on six hits. Freshmen John Matthews and Zach Schultz also pitched for the Flashes. 

“Pitching our freshmen can really help us down the road,” Duncan said. “They haven’t pitched a whole lot, and we wanted to get Schultz and Matthews in. I think both those guys have the capability to be successful for us, and it was good to get them on the mound for us today.”

The Flashes will travel to Columbus to play Ohio State at 6:35 p.m. on Wednesday. 

Scott Lendak is a sports reporter, contact him at [email protected].