Flashes come alive in MAC opener

Zach Harley

Despite not having batting practice during the spring vacation, the Kent State baseball team stayed on top of their game Thursday afternoon in the Mid-American Conference opener.

An abnormal start to the series spelled trouble going into the match-up with the 4-17 Central Michigan University baseball team.

A venue change started off the unusual 24 hours for the Flashes as the Friday match-up was moved to Grand Rapids because of the cold, rainy spring weather up in Michigan.

The less-than-favorable conditions in the new venue of Davenport University gave the Flashes the option of hitting in the indoor batting cages rather than a live batting practice like normal.

Coach Jeff Duncan and his team chose to practice inside rather than out, dodging the cold and windy conditions.

Two batters up, two batters down was how it started—and with no balls and two strikes, it looked as if Kent State was going status quo. Three up, three down followed. 

Then senior Zarley Zalewski started what would be a hit parade to put all other parades to shame.

Zalewski went 3-5 at the dish, hitting one batter and getting hit by a pitch as well.

What Zalewski started, junior Conner Simonetti kept going.

The left-fielder owned the plate, putting up a solid 3-5 day, plating eight teammates while also shooting one through the Grand Rapids air and into the abyss for his second home-run of the year.

Simonetti totaled 8 runs batted in, but that still means nine more were spread out across the entirety of the Flashes lately lethal offense.

On the mound for the Flashes was junior Eric Lauer.

The lefty threw almost six innings of shut-out baseball, striking out an astounding 11 batters.

When people say “pitching wins championships,” they don’t account for outbursts like this.

Eighteen hits total and a 17-5 win is how the Flashes have started out Mid-American Conference play. The next is a three-game series that has the potential to be another weekend sweep for the MAC-leading Flashes.

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