Flashes baseball defeated in double header season opener Friday

Kevin Battaglia

A day that started in so much anticipation and promise ended in defeat for the Kent State baseball team.

The Flashes, fresh off the program’s first College World Series appearance, opened the 2013 season

Friday at Wilmington, N.C. by losing both games of a double header to Virginia Tech, 10-9, and the

University of North Carolina in Wilmington, 7-6.

Before the first game Kent State head coach Scott Stricklin stressed that he was most concerned

about the lack of practice time his team had outside. The Flashes finished the two games Friday with a

combined total of nine errors.

The first game featured a pitching match-up of two aces. Kent State junior Tyler Skulina was given the

start to face off against Virginia Tech senior Joe Mantiply.

Both pitchers struggled as neither made it past the fifth inning.

In those five innings offense was not scarce as the two teams’ offensives combined to produce 12 runs.

Skulina finished with five innings pitched, allowing seven runs (three earned) on six hits and two

homeruns. He also threw for five strikeouts while walking four batters.

Mantiply threw just four innings allowing five runs (four earned) on nine hits. He struck out and walked

one batter each.

Kent State played from behind all game committing timely errors but keeping the game within reach

with their bats.

The Flashes would go from being down in the second inning, 6-1, to tying the game in the bottom of the

eighth, 7-7, on two run error by Virginia Tech. However, the Hokies would answer with three runs in the

top of the ninth.

The Flashes’ offense was due mostly in part to infielder Derek Toadvine and outfielder Alex Miklos. The

two players combined to hit .600 (6-10) at the plate scoring five runs while driving in four runs batted in.

The big hit came in the bottom of the ninth when Miklos belted a two-run homerun over the left-center

field wall to bring the Flashes within one, 10-9, before the game ended in a groundout securing a Hokies’


Hokies’ pitcher Jake Joyce (1-0) earned the win and Clark Labitan (1) the save while the Flashes’ Josh

Pierce (0-1) received the loss.

Unfortunately for Kent State they may have lost more than the game. Senior All-American George

Roberts was removed from the game in the top of the sixth inning and did not play in the second game

of the day. Roberts was diagnosed with a possible pinched nerve in his hand, according to a team


While the first game featured plenty of offense, the second game vs UNC Wilmington was more about

the defense.

Junior college transfer Taylor Williams made his Kent State debut in impressive fashion. Williams made

timely pitch after timely pitch dominating Seahawk batters while taking a no hitter into the seventh


Williams finished pitching seven innings, allowing four runs (one earned) and giving up one hit while

striking out five batters and only walking one.

Seahawks starting pitcher Mat Batts was just as effective. He kept the Flashes offense in line for four

innings allowing three earned runs on seven hits and throwing for seven strikeouts and three walks.

Despite the strong outing from Williams, the Flashes could pull off the victory.

Kent State produced six errors in the field but held a 6-4 lead until the bottom of the ninth. In the ninth

inning the Seahawks scored two runs of Flashes’ closer Eric Dorsch to force extra innings. Tyler Molinaro

led of the bottom of the tenth with a walk-off homerun to centerfield ending the game 7-6.

The winning pitcher was Ricky Holden (1-0) for the Seahawks while Eric Dorsch (0-1) was given the loss.

The offense was provided by catcher Tommy Monnot, Miklos and infielder Zarley Zalewski. Monnot

went .500 (3-6) from the plate. Miklos added another solid game hitting .333 (1-3) but had two RBI

and two walks. Zalewski, a freshman also making his Flashes debut, went .800 (4-5) from the plate and

added a run.

The Flashes will try to regroup from a loss in which they held the Seahawks to just three hits, and a day

in which they dropped two games by a combined two runs.

For the Flashes tomorrow brings a new day as the team will play against Virginia Tech at noon. The game

can be heard on the Golden Flashes Radio Network on iHeart Radio.

Contact Kevin Battaglia at [email protected].