Five-run 10th inning snaps Kent State’s three-game losing skid

Kent+State+redshirt+junior+Robert+Ziegler+pitches+against+University+of+Pittsburgh+at+Schoonover+Stadium+on+Tuesday%2C+March+21%2C+2017.+Kent+State+won+7-6.

Kent State redshirt junior Robert Ziegler pitches against University of Pittsburgh at Schoonover Stadium on Tuesday, March 21, 2017. Kent State won 7-6.

Nick Buzzelli

Though Kent State’s baseball team committed five fielding errors that led to all four of Northern Illinois University’s (NIU) runs in Friday’s game, in the end, the Flashes did just enough to come away with the victory.

With the score knotted at two in the top of the 10th inning, Kent State scored five straight runs and its bullpen recorded the final three outs en route to the Flashes (18-11, 6-1 Mid-American Conference) getting a 7-4 win over the Huskies (9-24, 5-5 MAC) at Ralph McKinzie Field. This win snapped Kent State’s three-game losing streak. 

“It’s a great win for us,” coach Jeff Duncan said after the game. “Back and forth, we kept applying pressure and at the end of the day got the ‘W’. We need to play off of this tomorrow. We need to play better baseball.”  

Starter Eli Kraus, a junior left-hander, picked up his fifth win of the season giving up six hits and striking out four NIU batters in 7 2/3 innings of work.

Right fielder and redshirt senior Luke Burch led the Flashes offensively by going 3-6 from the plate and driving in a pair of runs.

NIU took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first, courtesy of singles by Samuel Vega and Tommy Szczasny and a pair of Kent State fielding errors. 

The Flashes then went up by one in the fourth on a Dylan Rosa homer to left that scored Tim DalPorto.

The Huskies tied the score at two in the eighth after two singles and another Kent State error, but Kent State’s five-run 10th put the Flashes ahead for good.

“Eli Kraus threw a great game today and stepped up big for us,” Duncan said. “We need to play better defense behind him and we will. It was good to see Robert Zeigler throw the ball like he did today as well.” 

Kent State and Northern Illinois continue the weekend series with an afternoon game Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.

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