Kent State Baseball sweeps weekend series


Alex Miklos, junior out-fielder for Kent State is called safe after making a dive for second base after attempting to steal during the baseball game against Penn State on April 22nd, 2014.

Andrew Bugel

The Kent State baseball team improved to 5-4 on the season after a weekend sweep in the Chanticleer Classic, playing three different teams in three days.

Kent State got the ball rolling when they took care of business and beat West Virginia on Friday, and then they later completed the sweep Sunday with a win against 25th-ranked University of Illinois.

Game 1: Friday, Kent State 5, West Virginia 2

Junior starter Nick Jensen-Clagg pitched six solid innings, striking out five while only giving up two earned runs, but did not get off to a good start.

After giving up two runs in the first inning, Kent State was able to get one of the runs back in the bottom of the first off an RBI double by junior Zarley Zalewski.

“They jumped on us early, but we were able to come back,” coach Jeff Duncan said. “Our bullpen played great as well.”

The team took the lead in the fourth inning when sophomore Zach Beckner drove in two more runs with a single to centerfield.

After allowing the initial two runs, the Kent State defense played fabulous and shut out West Virginia for the rest of the game, managing only six hits off Kent State pitchers the entire game.

Senior shortstop Sawyer Polen added two hits and an RBI in the victory as well.

Freshman Zach Willeman came on in the ninth inning to register his first save of the year and secure the win for Kent State.

“We played solid, fundamental defense and that was the key,” Duncan said.

Game 2: Saturday, Kent State 9, Coastal Carolina 1

Coastal Carolina proved to be no match for the Flashes on Saturday afternoon. Even better, Kent State was able to even their record at 4-4 with the victory.

The offense was explosive, scoring nine runs off 14 hits in the blowout victory.

Sophomore Jared Skolnicki (2-1) gave up only one run over the course of seven innings, while redshirt sophomore Luke Burch led the offensive attack, going 4-5 during the afternoon with two RBI.

Senior Alex Miklos added three hits and three RBI in the win as well.

Kent State added four runs in the sixth and three runs in the eighth to secure a dominating victory.

Game 3: Sunday, Kent State 4, Illinois 3

Kent State had to play a little catch-up in order the defeat Illinois on Sunday and complete the weekend sweep, but they were able to make it work.

Sophomore Eric Lauer (1-1) pitched five innings of scoreless relief to get the win after starter sophomore Andy Ravel pitched four innings, giving up two earned runs.

“The whole momentum of the game changed when Lauer came in, and he pitched fantastic,” Duncan said.

The team was down 3-1 going into the top of the sixth inning but blew the hinges off the door after that and never looked back.

A Polen single, along with an Illinois defensive error, allowed two runs across the plate to tie the game.

Polen then scored the go-ahead run off a wild pitch and sealed the deal for the Flashes.

The team only managed five hits in the game, but thanks to such strong relief from Lauer, it was enough to score the win.

“We played three solid opponents and handled all three really well,” Duncan said. “We’ve had really good pitching, and we’re coming around as a team.”

Kent State’s next stop is against Liberty in Lynchburg, Virginia on March 6.

Contact Andrew Bugel at [email protected].