Baseball splits double header against Toledo


Sophomore pitcher Zach Willeman pitches during the the first game of a double header against the University of Toledo at Schoonover Stadium on Sunday, April 10, 2016. The Flashes lost 4-1 in the first game and won 2-1 in the second game.

Zach Harley

Due to Saturday’s postponement, Kent State faced Toledo in a back-to-back double-header Sunday night in what turned out to be one of the weirder endings in recent memory.

After a 4-1 loss in game one, the Flashes turned to emerging ace Eli Kraus to save the rubber match and not fall victim to a one-day sweep.

Kraus did his best to prevent the series loss in a huge way. Sunday’s eight and a third innings pitched marked his longest outing of 2016 as his second longest outing has been seven innings twice, once against Charlotte and the other coming at Central Michigan.

During those innings Kraus threw an outstanding ballgame allowing one run on only five hits striking out four while walking two. The performance was good for a 1.08 ERA and lowered his season ERA to his lowest since February with a 2.19 ERA.

The run that Kraus did allow however was good enough for Toledo to force Kent State to extra innings where the Flashes would eventually take the Rockets to the bottom of the 12th with the top of the line up coming up to bat.

After managing the bases loaded with one out, it was redshirt sophomore Reilly Hawkins to draw the most important walk of the year that forced the winning run across the plate for the 2-1 Kent State victory.

The offense on the other hand had a hard time putting together innings which looked to be a problem all day long, granted the weather wasn’t the greatest in the world.

Kent State’s offense also made a first, scoring less than four runs in each series game and with that the Flashes also racked up their lowest series run total of the season with five runs.

But thanks to the Flashes outstanding arms, the offense hasn’t had to worry as of late. Since the start of April the Kent State pitching staff has compiled a team ERA of 3.38 whereas as previously stated, they normally score four runs.

Sunday’s split outcome of a win and a loss put the Flashes at a record of 22-10 on the year. Coming into the game Kent State had an RPI ranking of 89th in the country and held a 41 spot lead on the next Mid-American Conference team in Ball State, who sits with a 19-12 record.

Next up for the Flashes will be Youngstown State, who holds a 6-18 record in the Horizon League.

On the mound for Kent State will likely be another fantastic arm as of late, Connor Wollersheim, who has allowed only one run in his last three starts.

Wednesday’s match-up will be the final game of a nine-game home stand for the Flashes before they ship up to Ypsilanti, Michigan for a three-game set against Eastern Michigan.

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