Flashes baseball tastes adversity, looks to respond



Nick Hamilton, junior infielder, hits the ball during the home game against Youngstown State University on April 11, 2012. The Flashes beat the Penguins 14-4. Photo by Nancy Urchak.

Kevin Battaglia

Kent State coach Scott Stricklin said he is interested to see how his team will respond to adversity after the Flashes got swept at Buffalo and fell to second place in the Mid-American Conference last weekend.

The Flashes (19-19, 9-6 MAC) will try to rebound from the disappointing series with a double-header against Youngstown State (12-28, 7-8 Horizon League) starting at 4 p.m. Tuesday at Schoonover Stadium.

“I want to see us complete,” Stricklin said. “Every guy on this team has a job to do, from the coaches on down. That’s what [the coaches] are going to look for on Tuesday; is everybody doing their job and getting it done the right way?”

Fortunately for Kent State, the two mid-week games against the non-conference Penguins provide them an opportunity to tune up their skills before Bowling Green comes to town for a crucial weekend series.

“I think it’s going to give us a little momentum going into the weekend against Bowling Green,” Flashes’ center fielder Evan Campbell said.

Winning both games Tuesday would help Kent State regain some of the confidence it lost from the three-game sweep over the weekend. The Flashes have 17 regular season games left on their schedule before MAC tournament play begins May 22. Campbell stated the team knows the situation that they are in if they want to win another MAC regular season title.

“We just pretty much need to win out [in MAC play] and let things happen,” he said. “The team morale and mentality is that we just have to go out and handle business. I think we will be able to get it done.”

Youngstown State comes into the game after dropping a 5-4 thriller against the University of Illinois-Chicago Sunday. The Penguins are currently in fourth in the standings out of five teams in the Horizon League. They are hitting .261 as a team while their bullpen is yielding a .317 opposing batting average.

Kent State owns a 61-15-1 all-time record versus Youngstown State with the most recent game resulting in a 14-4 Flashes’ victory last season.

Campbell said the Flashes are ready to respond to their coach’s message after the team saw its previous five-game winning streak snapped at Buffalo.

“The losses [at Buffalo] really stung us so I think we’ll respond pretty well tomorrow,” Campbell said.

Contact Kevin Battaglia at [email protected].