Flashes fall in another thriller

Kevin Battaglia

Kent State has had its share of close games this season, and Tuesday night proved to be another.

Kent State (14-16, 6-3 Mid-American Conference) hit a bump in the road, falling 3-2 to Penn State (7-21, 0-6 Big Ten Conference) Tuesday in State College, Pa.

“We just played with no intensity,” Flashes head coach Scott Stricklin said. “When we play with no intensity, it’s going to be hard to win games, especially on the road.”

Kent State scored two runs on eight hits. Penn State finished with three runs on 10 hits with each team committing one error.

Nittany Lions’ pitcher Ian Parvin (1-0) earned the win throwing two innings of two hit balls with two strikeouts and one walk. His teammate Cody Lewis (1) was rewarded with the save. The Flashes’ Aaron Tadian (0-1) received the loss tossing 2 1/3 innings and allowing one earned run on three hits with one strike out.

Penn State jumped on the Flashes in the first inning to take an early 2-0 lead. Shortstop Taylor Skerpon singled after Elliot Searer walked, setting up designated hitter J.C. Coban with one out. Coban then drove a pitch to centerfield that scored Searer. Second baseman Luis Montesinos singled to score Skerpon later in the inning with two outs.

The Flashes answered in the third inning when third baseman Zarley Zalewski hit a sacrifice fly to right field after Alex Miklos drove a triple to left fielder to start the inning. The Nittany Lion lead remained 2-1 until Kent State came to bat in the fourth inning.

Evan Campbell singled to center field and Jason Bagoly walked with one out and right fielder T.J. Sutton at the plate. The Flashes tied the game 2-2 when Campbell stole third base and scored on a Sutton groundout. The inning ended controversially, however, when Tommy Monnot lined a sinking ball to centerfielder Steve Snyder that appeared to hit the ground but was ruled a catch for the third out. A hit would have allowed Bagoly to score from third base and would have given the Flashes a lead.

However, the Nittany Lions did not allow the game to stay tied 2-2 very long. Penn State used back-to-back singles and an RBI fly ball from James Coates to reclaim the lead 3-2 in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Kent State missed an opportunity to tie the game in the seventh inning. Troy Summers entered the game as a pinch-runner for Monnot, who led off the inning with a single. Summers advanced to second base on wild pickoff throw and reach third base on an Miklos groundout with one out. Summers was left stranded on third base as pitcher Cody Lewis struck out Zalewski and Derek Toadvine to end the inning.

Penn State threatened to increase its lead, only to have the Flashes escape trouble in the bottom of the inning. The Nittany Lions loaded the bases with one out and the team’s best hitter in Coban came up to bat. Pitcher Eli Martin got Coban to fly out to shallow right field before Eric Dorsch came in and got Snyder to ground out to end the inning scoreless.

The Flashes’ last chance to tie the game came in the ninth inning. Jacob Neuschaefer pinch ran for Sutton after he singled up the middle with one out. Neuschaefer stole second base and got in scoring position with two outs and Miklos up to bat. Miklos flew out to shortstop on a 1-2 pitch from Lewis to end the game.

The Flashes will return home to host Toledo at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Schoonover Stadium.

Contact Kevin Battaglia at [email protected].