Baseball team drops two to Bowling Green in wild weekend series


Sophomore outfielder T.J. Sutton makes contact with a pitch against Youngstown State at Schoonover Stadium on Wednesday, April 11. Kent State defeated Youngstown State 14-4. Photo by Anthony Vence.

Tim Dorst

After starting 9-0 against Mid-American Conference opponents, Kent State’s baseball team dropped two games against the Bowling Green Falcons in a three-game weekend series.

The Flashes had eight-inning leads in both of the first two games, but the Falcons took advantage of the Flashes’ mistakes to come out on top in both games.

Coach Scott Stricklin said it was a frustrating and disappointing weekend for him and his team.

“It’s always disappointing to lose a conference series, especially when we had a chance to win those two games,” Stricklin said. “We had leads in both games, and we just couldn’t close them out.”

vThe Flashes (20-15) are now 10-2 in the conference, which puts them in first place in the MAC East division.

“At the end of the day, we’re still in first place and we just have to move on and learn from it,” Stricklin said.

Friday ­— Bowling Green 6, Kent State 5 (14 innings)

The Flashes held a 4-1 lead going into the eighth inning, but their bullpen allowed the Falcons to battle back and pull ahead in extra innings.

With senior right-hander Ryan Mace on the mound in the 14th inning, Bowling Green led off with a bunt single, and the runner advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt and an error.

Mace intentionally walked the next two batters to set up a double play situation, but he hit the next batter with a pitch to force in the game-winning run for the Falcons.

The Flashes have won a number of close games this season, but Stricklin said it was only a matter of time before their luck ran out.

“We had the game in control today and let it get away from us late,” Stricklin said. “We made some mistakes to allow that to happen.”

Saturday — Bowling Green 9, Kent State 6

For the second game in a row, The Flashes couldn’t hold onto a lead late in the game as they dropped their second straight game to the Falcons.

Kent State took the lead in the top of the eighth inning with some help at the plate from junior center fielder Evan Campbell. Campbell blasted a two-run home run to right center field to give the Flashes a 6-5 lead.

However, disaster struck for the Flashes in the bottom of the inning, as the Falcons scored four runs without recording a single hit.

After striking out the first two batters, Flashes’ left-hander Michael Clark walked the next two batters and hit a third with a pitch to load the bases.

Bowling Green’s Andrew Kubuski hit a ground ball back to Clark, and Clark threw it past the first baseman into right field. The Falcons scored three runs on the error and added another run on a wild pitch to take the lead for good.

Stricklin said the Flashes are not going to get good results if they continue to make critical mistakes.

“We haven’t played great baseball all season long, and it’s coming back to haunt us right now,” Stricklin said.

Sunday — Kent State 31, Bowling Green 20

The Flashes put on their best offensive show of the season as they defeated the Falcons in a wild series finale that totaled 51 runs between both teams.

Kent State came out on top with 31 runs on 25 hits for the game, including 10 runs in the first inning alone. It was the first 10-run inning for the Flashes since 2003.

Stricklin said high winds and rough field conditions played a significant part in the two team’s offensive outbursts.

“We had a feeling it was going to be a high scoring-game,” Stricklin said. “Our pitching wasn’t great today, but it was good enough. Obviously, our offense did a great job and scored us a bunch of runs.”

The 10-run first inning was highlighted by a two-run home run by senior catcher David Lyon, his fourth homerun of the season. Lyon tallied three RBIs in the first.

After the Falcons scored four runs in the bottom of the second inning, the Flashes retaliated with four runs of their own in the top of the third. Junior designated hitter Jason Bagoly smashed a three-run home run to left center field, and freshman second baseman Sawyer Polen hit his first career home run on a solo shot to left field.

“Jason and Sawyer both hit the ball really well today,” Stricklin said. “I knew it was only a matter of time before Sawyer started hitting for power, and he got two hits that caught the wind. It was just nice to see those guys produce.”

Bagoly went 4-for-4 in the game with a career-high seven RBIs, and Polen went 2-for-3 with two home runs and six RBIs.

The Flashes will return home to Schoonover Stadium to prepare for a midweek game against Pittsburgh Tuesday.

Contact Tim Dorst at [email protected] or @TimmyD_DKS