Flashes fall short to reigning champs

Zach Harley

The season opener for the Golden Flashes didn’t go as planned down in Myrtle Beach, as the preseason MAC champions lost to the reigning College World Series champion Virginia Cavaliers, 8-6.

Virginia was in control early and often as they had a 3-run 4th inning, which were the Cavaliers’ first runs of the game, thanks to two walks and a passed ball at the hands of Kent State starting pitcher Eric Lauer.

Lauer’s stat-line consisted of 5.0 innings, allowing 3 earned runs on 4 hits, with 5 walks and 5 strike-outs.

Virginia kept the momentum, scoring one man in the 7th and 4 more across in the 8th, making it 8-0 for the Cavaliers.

The Flashes never found their stride until later, only managing four hits in the first eight innings and failing to push a run to the plate in the process.

The 9th inning turned out to be what the Flashes had been waiting for the whole game. They sent 12 men to the plate and pushed across 6 runs on 5 hits.

The inning started with shortstop Josh Hollander singling to left past the opposing shortstop, followed by a couple base-hits that sent Hollander home for the Flashes’ first run of the young season. Single after single turned the rally into a real possibility for Jeff Duncan’s clubhouse.

The hopes of a big come-back looked to be bleak after back-to-back outs coming from Golden Flash batters Zarley Zalewski and Conor Simonettii.

The Virginia bullpen made sure that the Cavaliers were still on their way to a win thanks to left-handed relievers David Rosenberger and Alec Bettinger. Rosenberger entered the 9th after pitcher Chesdin Harrington allowed the Flashes to plate 4 on only 3 hits.

Rosenberger and the third reliever of the inning, Bettinger, closed out the frame, allowing only 2 more runs and locking the game down with men on first and second and 2 outs, getting Mason Mamarella to ground into a fielder’s choice to officially end the season-opener.

The only two-hit batter the Flashes had was third baseman Dylan Rosa, who put together 2 hits on 3 at-bats, crossing the plate once himself. Rosa also got picked off after he managed the first hit of the game.

Kent State has a quick turn-around, as they face off against Old Dominion at noon tomorrow on the same field.