Flashes take opening bout against Bowling Green Friday

Richie Mulhall

Box Score

The Kent State baseball team (28-13, 11-4 Mid-American Conference) is now tied with the Central Michigan Chippewas for second place overall in the MAC after Friday.

In the Flashes’ opening game against Bowling Green (17-20, 8-8 MAC), they kicked off the series on the right foot and came out of the game with a 7-5 victory over the Falcons.

Both the Flashes and Falcons went tit-for-tat in the third inning and scored two runs each in the third inning. A walk to freshman infielder Zach Beckner, hit by a pitch by junior infielder Sawyer Polen and single by redshirt senior outfielder Jon Wilson loaded the bases, and Kent State capitalized on the scoring opportunity. Junior outfielder Alex Miklos delivered for his team when he singled home a run and sophomore third baseman Justin Wagler brought home another run with a sac fly that allowed Polen to cruise across the home bag unopposed.

Bowling Green tied the game in their home half of the same inning when it notched a couple of runs on two RBI singles. The Flashes responded to the Falcons’ offensive rebuttal in the fourth and scored two more runs. Redshirt senior first baseman Cody Koch pulled a double down the right field line and senior outfielder T.J. Sutton brought Koch home two-batters later when he belted a two-run homer that cleared the fence over in right field.

Bowling Green would not stay down for long, though. They bounced back with some fire of their own in the fourth and matched Kent State two runs with a couple runs.

Bowling Green’s J. Shay tied the score and equaled Sutton’s homerun in the fourth after he blasted a two-run homer in the same inning to even the odds.

The Falcons cushioned their lead by one run with a run in the sixth to claim a 5-4 advantage.

The back-and-forth game that hung in the balance finally swayed toward the Flashes’ favor in the eighth frame.

After Wilson and Miklos singled in the inning, the big bat of Cody Koch came through in the clutch and cracked a three-run shot to left that secured the 7-5 win for Kent State.

Koch’s hot hitting persisted in Friday night’s game as the heavy hitter went 3-for-4 with a double and a homerun. He also led the team with three RBIs that all came off his three-run bomb in the eighth inning.

After Friday’s game, Koch bumped up his batting average to .325 and now leads the team in homers this season with four.

On the mound for the Flashes, true freshman phenom Eric Lauer (7-2, 2.50 ERA) threw 4.2 innings, gave up four runs on six hits and five walks and racked up four strikeouts in the no decision.

Lauer did not pitch his best game Friday night by any means, but luckily for him and the Flashes, redshirt junior pitcher Dan Kopcak (3-0, 3.78 ERA) came on in the latter portion of the fourth and pitched three near-spotless innings afterward to seize the win.

He allowed just one hit and one run in his third win of the season. He is now 3-0.

Redshirt junior closer Eric Dorsch (10 saves, 1.46 ERA) came into the game in the ninth to fulfill his role as closer just as he typically does and earned his 10th save of the season. Dorsch now ranks fourth all-time among Kent State pitchers in career saves and is tied for seventh for the single-season record.

Kent State will play the Falcons at Bowling Green again Saturday at 1:05 p.m., followed by the series finale game Sunday at 1:05 p.m.

Contact Richie Mulhall at [email protected].