Flashes look to carry over success from Oakland game into Athens



Sophomore infielder Justin Wagner hits a line side ball during the first doubleheader held against Oakland University on Tuesday, April 1, 2014. Kent State is set to face Ohio University this weekend.

Richie Mulhall

In the paradoxical midst of beautiful weather and howling winds, the Kent State baseball team (16-10, 4-2 Mid-American Conference) absolutely squashed the Oakland Grizzlies this past Tuesday at Schoonover Stadium — and “squashed” is almost putting it lightly.

The Flashes scored a total 32 runs in their double-header and held Oakland to a mere six runs, five of which came in the first game of the two-game series.

Kent State fans also had the opportunity to witness history, as Kent State and Oakland combined to set a new NCAA record for most batters hit by a pitch with 14, a bizarre occurrence that surprisingly played a huge factor in Kent State’s victory.

Three of Kent State’s 16 runs in the first game were forced by batters hit by a pitch —not exactly the conventional, old-fashioned way of scoring runs, but the Flashes were more than happy to accept the “freebies,” as Kent State head coach Jeff Duncan referred to them.

Probably Pitching Starters for the Ohio Bobcat Series

Friday, April 4

  • Kent State: #10 LHP Eric Lauer (6-1, 1.96 ERA, 29 SO, 12 BB, 6 GS, 36.2 IP)

  • Ohio: #24 RHP Jake Roehn (2-3, 3.89 ERA, 34 SO, 15 BB, 7 GS, 39.1 IP)

Saturday, April 5

  • Kent State: #32 RH Nick Jensen Clagg (1-1, 4.50 ERA, 25 SO, 6 BB, 5 GS, 28.0 IP)
  • Ohio: #34 RHP Jake Rudnicki (2-0, 3.55 ERA, 27 SO, 18 BB, 6 GS, 33.0 IP)

Sunday, April 6

  • Kent State: #30 LHP Brian Clark (2-5, 4.93 ERA, 22 SO, 13 BB, 7 GS, 38.1 IP)
Ohio: #31 RHP Connor Sitz (0-6, 4.55 ERA, 15 SO, 7 BB, 5 GS, 31.2 IP)

In the first game against the Grizzlies, in which Kent State defeated Oakland 16-5, six of the Flashes’ 10 hits were for extra bases, including junior outfielder Alex Miklos’ inside-the-park homerun in the first inning of the ball game that drove in a couple of runs.

In game two, which resulted in a 16-1 final score in favor of the Flashes, a couple of grand slams put a dense cushion on Kent State’s already growing lead. Junior catcher Jeff Revesz, who will be playing a more active roll on the Flashes’ roster now since the recent injury of Kent State starting catcher Tommy Monnot, spanked a grand slam and his first collegiate homerun in the first inning.

“He works extremely hard and is a great teammate and a good player,” head coach Jeff Duncan said of Revesz after Tuesday night’s performance.

Miklos also added insult to injury later on in the third when he socked Kent State’s second grand slam of the game.

The grand slams marked Kent State’s third and fourth homeruns of the 14-inning double header, a sign that the team is slowly but surely finding their power at the plate.

After just hitting 19 homers last season, the Flashes are starting to hit the long ball well this season with nine total homers, already almost of half of what the team produced last year.

With the Flashes’ newfound pop in their bats, the entire lineup has been swinging the bat better and finding their touch again at the dish.

“Everyone’s contributing and everyone’s doing their best to put a barrel on the baseball,” redshirt-senior first baseman Cody Koch said after Tuesday’s game.

In both games Tuesday, every starting batter scored a run, a feat not easily accomplished in one game, let alone two back-to-back games as part of a double header.

“I have really not been around a game where every guy has scored a run,” Duncan said. “But that’s good, I think it shows that all our guys are putting together good at-bats and getting on base.”

After the big double header Tuesday, Kent State has statistically become a force to be reckoned with in the MAC, as the team ranks third in the league in batting average closely behind Ball State and Akron.

Now offensively hotter than ever, the baseball team hopes to stay hot and keep the momentum rolling this weekend as it travels to Athens for a three-game series against MAC rival Ohio (5-20, 1-5 MAC).

Like Oakland, who was 4-13 after the double header, Ohio has had its fair share of struggles this year in the win-loss column. The team lost to Ohio State 11-6 Tuesday and is currently on a thee-game skid.

The Bobcats look to snap its losing streak and ends its string of bad luck with a much-needed win over the Flashes this weekend.

Kent State starting pitcher and freshman Eric Lauer will try to prevent that from happening, as he will get the nod on the mound in the opening game Friday.

Lauer, who started the season coming out of the bullpen, has been lights out in six of his seven starts this season. He is 6-1 on the year with an ERA of 1.96. The freshman phenom also leads the team in strikeouts with 29.

Sophomore Nick Jensen-Clagg and junior Brian Clark will start on the hill for the Flashes Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

The three-game series begins at 6 p.m. Friday. Saturday’s game starts at 3 p.m. and the series finale Sunday begins at 1 p.m.

Contact Richie Mulhall at [email protected].