Baseball drops home opener to Pitt


Josh Hollander slides into home plate scoring the first run in the home opener game against the University of Pittsburgh on Wednesday, March 16, 2016. The Flashes lost 9-4.

Zach Harley

It was an electric atmosphere at Schoonover Stadium on Wednesday evening as Kent State (10-4) took on the Pittsburgh Panthers (8-6) in Kent State’s home opener.

The Golden Flashes came in riding a 10-game win streak hoping to make it 11 behind the arm of freshman lefty Connor Wollersheim, but the electricity slowly left the stands as Wollersheim struggled through his 2.1 innings allowing three earned runs including a solo shot off the bat of Panther center fielder Aaron Schnurbusch.

Kent State would answer the Panthers’ three-run 3rd with a three run inning of their own in the 4th, thanks to back-to-back jacks from third baseman Dylan Rosa and designated hitter Conner Simonetti.

Pittsburgh’s starting pitcher Sam Mersing bounced back after the fourth throwing a scoreless fifth which would eventually end his night with a line of five innings, allowing eight hits while surrendering four runs.

The name of the game for the Flashes was pitching changes as the Flashes made six pitching changes throughout the contest sending seven pitchers to the bump, three of which being freshmen.

Kent State had a tough time on the mound seeing only two pitchers, Wollersheim and Joey Murray, seeing two-plus innings.

“We were behind hitters all night” says manager Jeff Duncan. “It’s really hard to win when you do things like that.

Duncan, referred to the control issues that plagued the Flashes tonight walking 12 Panthers while additionally hitting two more.

Not to discount the performance of the Pittsburgh line-up who out-hit the Flashes 10-8 sending 45 batters to the plate opposed to Kent State’s 35.

“One of our goals this year is to play well mid-week” says Duncan who managed the Flashes through their first of 10 mid-week games throughout the season.

The mid-week games will be interesting going forward as Duncan acknowledged that they don’t know who their mid-week starter is going to be.

Wollersheim was their first mid-week starter of the season, but notably struggled, leaving in the second inning.

The Flashes will look to bounce back on Friday as they start a four-game stretch against Liberty University (12-6) in Lynchburg, Virginia.