Baseball team up against No. 1 Eastern Michigan this weekend


Senior outfielder Ben Klafczynski hits a double during Wednesday’s game against Pittsburgh at Schoonover Stadium. Kent State defeated Pittsburgh by a score of 9-5 to earn their sixth win in a row.. Photo by Anthony Vence.

A.J. Atkinson

The top two teams in the Mid-American Conference square off this weekend for a three-game series at Schoonover Field.

Mens baseball weekend schedule vs. Eastern Michigan

  • Friday at 3 p.m.
  • Saturday at 1 p.m.
  • Sunday at noon.

Kent State’s No. 1 pitching staff in the MAC welcomes Eastern Michigan, who holds the second highest team batting average in the league.

Kent State, currently first in the MAC Eastern Division at 17-10, will host the No. 1 team in the MAC Western Division, Eastern Michigan (18-10).

Both teams are 5-1 in conference play.

The Eagles, posting a team batting average of .296, arrive to face the MAC’s No. 1 pitching staff based on earned run average (2.78).

Daniel Russell and Brent Ohrman lead the Eagles’ offense with 39 hits each. Their hit mark is second in the MAC to Ben Klafczynski, Kent State’s senior right fielder.

The Eagles’ pitching, which has a team ERA of 5.47, faces a dangerous Flashes lineup of late. Kent State has scored 33 runs to its opponent’s 17 in the span of its six-game winning streak.

Klafczynski enters the series leading the Flashes with a .404 batting average, 42 hits, 26 runs and 31 runs batted in. Not far behind in offensive production are junior shortstop Jimmy Rider and junior third baseman Travis Shaw.

Rider is second on the team in batting average at .311 and hits with 37 on the year. He leads the team in doubles with eight and is third on the team in runs scored with 21.

After a slow start to the season, Shaw is now hitting .274 and is second on the team in doubles (seven), home runs (four) and runs scored (24).

“I had too passive of an approach earlier in the season,” Shaw said. “Now I’m trying to be more aggressive earlier in the count. It’s been paying off for me.”

Sophomore Andrew Chafin will start on mound for Friday’s game.

The southpaw holds a 3-1 record and 0.65 ERA in 41.1 innings. He leads the pitching staff in strikeouts with 49 and opponents only hit .177 off him.

Senior Kyle Hallock, this week’s MAC East Division Baseball Pitcher of the Week for his performance last Saturday against Western Michigan, returns to the mound Saturday.

Hallock looks to improve his 3-4 record and 2.86 ERA. The lefty pitcher has struck out 32 batters in 44 innings.

Junior David Starn starts for the Flashes’ final game of the three-game series against Eastern Michigan Sunday.

Starn is 4-1 on the year with a 1.52 ERA.

The lefty leads the staff in innings pitched at 47.1. He has struck out 46 batters, walked 10 and opponents hold a low .207 batting average against the left-handed thrower.

Action begins Friday at 3 p.m.; Saturday starts at 1 p.m. and Sunday at noon.

Contact A.J. Atkinson at [email protected].