Duncan gets 100th win against Miami

Eli Kraus, a sophomore left-handed pitcher, pitches to a Western Michigan University player during a game at Olga Mural field at Schoonover Stadium on Sunday, April 30, 2016. The Flashes won 13-2.

Zach Harley

It only took a little under three seasons for Kent State head coach Jeff Duncan to win his 100th career victory in a Flashes uniform, as the baseball team (31-11) beat Miami (21-22) with a score of 4-3.

Duncan took over managerial duties before the 2014 season after Scott Stricklin left Kent State to manage the University of Georgia Bulldogs two years removed from his magical College World Series berth.

“Honestly, I got the best coaching staff in the country” Duncan said, when asked about his 100th win. “It’s been a lot of fun here for these three years … there will be many more.”

In Duncan’s three seasons at the helm, the Flashes have won 30 games in all three, extending the streak of 30-win seasons to 18, including this season.

Back in 2013—when Duncan left his assistant coaching job at Purdue University to become the next head coach of the Flashes—Duncan expressed how much he loved the tradition of the program.

“The expectation is high here,” Duncan said. “As of today, the Kent State baseball tradition continues.”

In his three years at the helm, Duncan has had help from not only his great coaching staff headlined by associate head coach Mike Birkbeck, but also from his players.

“If it wasn’t for those (coaches) and players I wouldn’t be here,” Duncan said. “It’s a testament to what they’re doing.”

Someone who he’s had from the start is senior Zarley Zalewski, who—on Sunday—added two more hits to his season total, moving his season average up to .353, and increasing his RBI-total to 41. 

Duncan has also benefited from excellent pitching, with players like junior Eric Lauer, who,—in Friday’s 10-3 victory over the —continued his dominant season and threw seven and two-thirds innings, allowing two runs on four hits and leaving his ERA at an impressive 0.97. 

From the 2014 season, pitchers including Brian Clark, Michael Clark, Johnny Fasola and Eric Dorsch have all gone on to pitch at the professional level. 

Duncan’s 100th win notched another series win for the Flashes. So far, the team has yet to lose a three or four-game series this season, which, according to Duncan, is a testament to what they’re doing.

The team has the week off, with their next set of games coming against the University at Buffalo Bulls (13-26).

Zach Harley is a sports reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].