Baseball to host weekend series against Bowling Green


Kent State sophomore Tommy Monnot bats for Kent State in a doubleheader against Youngstown State at Shoonover Field on Tuesday, April 23, 2013. Kent State lost the first game, 10-4, and won the second game, 5-2. Photo by Yolanda Li.

Kevin Battaglia

Kent State knows there is no bigger series this season than the one they will play this weekend.

With aspirations of winning a regular season Mid-American Conference title, the Flashes realize they have put themselves in a must-win position from now, until the end of the season since last weekend’s sweep at Buffalo.

Despite the odds, last season’s Flashes’ team reeled off 21 straight wins on the way to winning both the Mid-American Conference regular season title and postseason tournament.

This season’s Kent State team (20-20, 9-6 Mid-American Conference) is looking to have a similar winning streak of their own that will have to start against Bowling Green (14-20, 8-7 MAC) beginning at 6 p.m. Friday at Schoonover Stadium.

Buffalo is currently in first place in the MAC East Division standings with an 11-4 win-loss record. The Flashes and Falcons sit in second and third place respectively.

The Flashes will need help from other MAC teams to catch Buffalo in the standings, but Kent State head coach Scott Stricklin knows the importance of the series is about winning and letting everything else take care of itself later.

“[This is a] huge series, Bowling Green is playing well right now, and they’re a game behind us [in the MAC standings],” Stricklin said. “They beat us two out of three last year when we had a great team. We only lost three games in the conference last year and they beat us twice, so our kids will be ready to play, [and] Bowling Green will be ready to play.”

Shortstop Sawyer Polen agreed with his coach and knows the position the Flashes are in.

“I think this is a huge series,” Polen said. “Every series is a big series at this point. We just have to do our best and see what happens.”

Each team is coming into the series off a victory. The Flashes rebounded to beat Youngstown State 5-2 in a second game of a doubleheader, while the Falcons won 9-0 at Xavier on Tuesday.

Stricklin said Bowling Green is a team that is well-coached and relies on a strong pitching staff; however, they can commit untimely errors that have cost them wins. The Falcons are led by starting pitcher Cody Apthorpe (4-2, 2.24) in the bullpen. Catcher TJ Losby and infielder Jeremy Shay add both speed and power to the middle of the Falcons’ lineup.

“If we can put the ball in play and put pressure on their defense, then I think we can have some success,” Stricklin said.

Flashes’ All-American George Roberts acknowledged that although the season is winding down, there is plenty of time to compete for a MAC title with 12 games remaining against MAC East Division opponents.

“I think we just have to get hot at the right time, and it starts this weekend,” Roberts said. “We can still do some damage, so that’s what we’re looking to do. We just got to keep playing and play like dirtbags out there.”

Contact Kevin Battaglia at [email protected].