Flashes aim to end three-game losing streak


Kent State Baseball

Richie Mulhall

The last time the Kent State baseball team (28-16, 12-6 Mid-American Conference) lost three games in a row was the beginning of March when the team got swept on the road by Liberty University.

Now, the Flashes find themselves in that same boat again two months later at the beginning of May.

After dropping three straight games, two to Bowling Green last weekend and one to Youngstown State on Wednesday, the Flashes hope to stay positive and look to turn things around this weekend as MAC competition resumes.

This weekend, Kent State will host Northern Illinois (14-30-1, 8-10 MAC) for a three-game series at Schoonover Stadium.

Now, the Huskies don’t exactly have the greatest overall record or conference record, but if the Flashes have learned anything this season, it is that any given team can win on any given day.

Even a team like Northern Illinois, whose loss column speaks volumes about how the season has gone for the Huskies, has the capability to catch the Flashes off guard. After all, the Youngstown State Penguins knocked off the Flashes Wednesday night 5-4 in what Duncan described as “not good baseball.”

“We didn’t play good baseball; we didn’t defend our home turf,” Kent State Coach Jeff Duncan said. “We let Youngstown kind of hang around, and that’s what can happen when you do that. Basically the last couple of weeks we haven’t played great baseball, we’ve had to deal some adversity.”

There is no doubt Kent State has been cold lately. Poor pitching, lackluster bullpen support and lack of productive at-bats have plagued the Flashes the past three games now, Duncan said. Although Kent State might be struggling to stay ahead as this season is already rapidly approaching its end, Duncan said he and his team are up to the challenge.

“This is a great defining moment [of] the season for us to see how we handle this adversity, and I think it can come out as a character,” Duncan said. “We can come together and come united to stay together and build on this and really have a nice run at the end of the year just from learning about this stuff just by handling adversity.”

“There have been three different areas where we found a way to lose, whether it’s defensively, our bullpen and then Wednesday night I thought it was offensively,” Duncan said. “Offensively, we had a lot of opportunities and left some base runners on, [and] we just didn’t execute our approach really well.”

Duncan said the team will need all three elements of its composition — offense, defense and pitching — to step up this weekend against a Northern Illinois team that is coming off a positive note with a 4-0 win against University of Illinois at Chicago Wednesday. The Flashes have the tools to succeed — they just need to use them right and use them well this weekend.

“They’re Chicago kids, they’re gonna be tough, they’re gonna be resilient — we just have to play our baseball and find ways to win,” Duncan said.

With the MAC Championships on the horizon and in the back of the Flashes’ minds, Duncan said his team has the potential to win the championship this season, but in order to do that, his team must first weather the storm and break out of their current funk with some wins against Northern Illinois this weekend.

“[A MAC Championship] is something that we’re building toward right now,” Duncan said. “We have to get our minds straight and keep continuing to grow and keep continuing to get better every day.”

Friday and Saturday’s games will begin at 6 p.m., followed by a Sunday matinee game at 1 p.m.

Contact Richie Mulhall at [email protected].