Flashes take series over conference foe Eastern Michigan


Kent State University sophomore Luke Burch gets a hit during Kent State’s 8-6 victory over Eastern Michigan University and Schoonover Stadium on Sunday, March 29, 2015. The Flashes won 2 of 3 games in the series to improve their record to 12-11 overall.

Andrew Bugel

Kent State (12-11, 3-3 Mid-American Conference) took on Eastern Michigan for a three-game series on Saturday and Sunday, and they were able to come away with a series win in their second home series of the year.

The Flashes lost a narrow game in the opener of the series, but the team was able to win back-to-back games in Sunday’s doubleheader to secure the series win.

Game 1 on Saturday: Eastern Michigan 4, Kent State 3

Junior ace Nick Jensen-Clagg (4-3) had a career-high in strikeouts but was unable to secure the win on Saturday against the Eagles in game one at 2 p.m. Jensen-Clagg struck out seven batters over the first three innings of work, but a slow start and a lack of offense prevented Kent State from winning.

The Flashes gave up two runs in the top of the second to Eastern Michigan and from then on, they could never recover.

Kent State got on the board for the first time in the fifth inning off an RBI single by senior Sawyer Polen. Polen and sophomores Luke Burch and Curtis Olvey each had two hits in the game. Olvey had a two-run double in the ninth, which cut the deficit to one, but junior Zarley Zalewski struck out looking to end the game.

Game 2 on Sunday: Kent State 8, Eastern Michigan 6

Things looked a whole lot better offensively in the first doubleheader game Sunday at 1 p.m. for Kent State. They scored eight runs off 14 hits and didn’t commit an error in the defense.

“The offense played a lot better and really stepped up after Saturday’s performance, and they helped us get the win,” coach Jeff Duncan said. “Plus, we had great pitching Sunday.”

Senior Josh Pierce (1-3) took the victory, his first of the season, even though sophomore Eric Lauer started the game. Lauer went five innings, allowing only three earned runs and giving up five hits while striking out nine. He received a no-decision for his effort.

Burch went 3-4 on the afternoon to keep his strong series at the plate going and scored twice.

Olvey got Kent State on the board in the fourth off a fielder’s choice and Zalewski put Kent State ahead in the fifth with a two-run single.

Eastern Michigan answered back in the sixth, and the game went back and forth until the seventh inning thanks to an RBI double by senior Tommy Monnot. Sophomore Conner Simonetti had an RBI single to secure the win for Kent State.

“It was really good to see (Tommy) have such a good weekend,” Duncan said. “He came through with big hits and had a few extra base hits with a double and a triple, so we really were pleased with his performance this weekend.”

Game 3 on Sunday: Kent State 12, Eastern Michigan 4

Kent State pounded Eastern Michigan in the final game of the series at 4:45 p.m. on Sunday to put an exclamation point on the series.

12 runs off 13 hits was the name of the game for Kent State, and the pitching was excellent.

Sophomore Andy Ravel (3-1) picked up his third win of the season and went six innings, only giving up two runs and struck out five.

Monnot and Olvey recorded an RBI in the second inning to get Kent going.

Olvey had an excellent day at the plate, going 2-5 with 2 RBI. Simonetti also had two RBI in the win, along with sophomore shortstop Zach Beckner.

“It was good to see the guys bounce back from Saturday and play so well today,” Duncan said.

Kent State will play one final home game Tuesday against Youngstown State University before traveling to Penn State on Wednesday.


Contact Andrew Bugel at [email protected]