Trailing 6-1 against Pittsburgh on Wednesday, the Kent State baseball team fought its way back into the game and cut the deficit to one. Unfortunately for the Flashes, their rally fell just short.
The Panthers took the lead early and held on to earn a 6-5 victory over the Flashes Wednesday afternoon in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Sophomore right-handed pitcher Dan Slavik struggled in his first start of the season for the Flashes. Slavik relinquished six runs on six hits and walked four batters in two and a third innings.
The Flashes scored their first run on a sacrifice fly by junior center fielder Evan Campbell in the top of the third inning. Pittsburgh responded in the bottom of the third with a three-run homer by Panthers’ catcher Elvin Soto, extending its lead to 6-1.
Kent State chipped away at the deficit with a series of one-run innings. Senior catcher David Lyon led off the fourth inning with a double to right field, and freshman first baseman Tommy Monnot drove Lyon in with a double to center.
Campbell, who went 2-for-4 in the game, smashed a double down the right-field line in the fifth to drive in sophomore second baseman Derek Toadvine.
The Flashes tacked on another run in the seventh off a sacrifice fly by senior shortstop Jimmy Ryder. In the top of the eighth, junior designated hitter Jason Bagoly hit a solo home run over the right field wall to cut the Panthers’ lead to one.
The bullpen was key in keeping the Flashes in the game, as the relievers pitched six and two-thirds innings of scoreless baseball. Freshman right-handed pitcher Dan Kopcak pitched three and a third innings of relief, allowing just one hit while striking out four.
Junior George Roberts, who usually plays first base for the Flashes, came in to pitch in the eighth and kept the Panthers at bay.
Toadvine and Ryder both hit singles in the top of the ninth inning to put the go-ahead runs on base. With two outs, junior third baseman Nick Hamilton smashed a high fly ball to deep right field, but it stayed in the ballpark and was caught for the final out.
The Flashes will be off Thursday as they prepare for a three-game weekend series against Ball State in Muncie, IN.
Contact Tim Dorst at [email protected]