Flashes baseball records second-straight series victory


Freshman outfielder Alex Miklos looks for a chance to steal third base during the Flashes game against Pittsburgh. Photo by Coty Giannelli .

Kevin Battaglia

The Kent State baseball team is starting to find its groove, which may get the attention of teams in the Mid-American Conference.

With conference play starting next weekend, Kent State (6-11) won its second straight series after defeating the University of Memphis (11-8) in two of three games this weekend in Memphis, Tenn.

At the beginning of the week, head coach Scott Stricklin described Memphis as a team that scores a little at a time per inning. The Tigers did just that in game one of the series on their way to a 12-7 victory over the Flashes. Memphis scored two runs each in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings to pull ahead 7-1.

Despite the 7-1 deficit, the Flashes answered with three runs in the seventh and two runs in the eighth; however the Tigers retaliated with one run in the bottom of the seventh and four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to put the game away.

The game featured plenty of offense, as the Flashes had seven players in the starting line-up register a hit and three players with multiple-hit games. Center fielder Evan Campbell, catcher Tommy Monnot and right fielder T.J. Sutton combined to bat .600 (9-15), driving in five RBI, scoring three runs and recording one walk.

An encouraging sign was All-American George Roberts, who returned to the line-up and started at first base. The senior had missed 13 straight games since suffering a wrist injury on opening day Feb. 15. In four at bats, Roberts recorded one hit but drove in a run and managed a walk.

The second game was a combination of pitching and offense. Flashes’ starting pitcher Taylor Williams (3-1) continued his habit of dismantling opposing teams’ line-ups Saturday on the way to a 9-1 Flashes’ win. Williams tossed seven innings, allowing only one earned run while striking out eight and walking one batter.

The Tigers’ lone run off Williams came in the fifth inning when third baseman Drew Griffin tagged up to score on second baseman Zach Willis sacrifice fly to center. After that it was all Kent State. The Flashes turned the tables on Memphis from game one by scoring two runs each in the sixth and seventh innings, and three runs in the eighth inning. They also added two more runs in the ninth inning, scoring a total of nine runs in the last three innings.

The Flashes finished with seven hitters in the starting line-up recording a hit and six hitters with at least one RBI. Left fielder Alex Miklos finished 2 for 4 and drove in a pair of RBI while recording his second home run of the season.

The series finale took the Flashes 10 innings to record a 4-2 win.

Kent State started the game scoring in the first inning on a Roberts’ single to right field that allowed Miklos to score. Memphis would answer at the bottom half of the inning on a single by first baseman Tucker Tubb that scored teammate Jake Little.

Each team would score one more run — the Flashes in the top of the second inning and Tigers in the bottom of the third inning — and the game remained tied at two until the 10th inning.

After a single by Miklos and a double by Campbell, the Tigers intentionally walked Roberts to load the bases with one out. Monnot came to bat and was hit by a pitch from pitcher Jonathan Van Eaton, scoring Miklos and breaking a 2-2 tie game. The Flashes increased their lead to 4-2 on first baseman Cody Koch’s single to right field that scored Campbell.

Freshman pitcher Nick Jensen-Clagg (1-1) recorded his first win of the season in his second inning of work after retiring Tigers’ batters in the bottom of the tenth inning.

Starting pitching continued to be strong for the Flashes. Senior pitcher Casey Wilson threw seven and one-third innings of five-hit baseball, allowing two earned runs. He also struck out two batters and walked one.

The Flashes will return home to host Pittsburgh for their home opener at 4 p.m. Wednesday before opening conference play at Northern Illinois on Friday in DeKalb, Ill.

Kevin Battaglia is the baseball reporter for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].