Offense awakens, Flashes power past Youngstown State

A.J. Atkinson

The Flashes capitalized on Youngstown State’s sloppy play to extend their win streak to 10 on Tuesday at Schoonover Stadium.

Youngstown State’s pitching staff did not help itself against the Flashes’ powerful lineup, committing three of the Penguins’ four errors in the game.

The Kent State batters took advantage of the second-chance opportunities, scoring seven runs on 11 hits.

Sophomores Evan Campbell and Jason Bagoly had six of the Flashes’ 11 hits. Campbell went three-for-four with three singles, one run scored and one run batted in.

Bagoly hit three-for-four with two doubles, two runs scored, and one run batted in.

Kent State coach Scott Stricklin said he likes to see the offense has developed to more than just two hitters.

“Lately it’s been a lot of different people,” Stricklin said. “That’s what you need. You can’t have just one person.”

The Flashes have scored 53 runs to their opponent’s 24 in the 10-game span.

Junior shortstop Jimmy Rider, who went two-for-four with two doubles, a run scored and an RBI in the game, said he believes the warmer weather has a correlation to the gradual climb in offensive numbers.

“It is a lot easier to hit when it’s warmer,” Rider said smiling. “I think it’s getting confidence up there and feeding off each other.”

Freshman Spencer Bryant earned his first win in his first starting appearance for the Flashes. The right-hander pitched five shutout innings, struck out two, walked one and gave up just five hits.

Before the game, Bryant had only thrown seven complete innings.

“Spencer Bryant went out there and threw four pretty much effortless innings,” Stricklin said. “It won’t be the last time Bryant gets out there, that’s for sure.”

Kent State’s offense started from the beginning, scoring a run in each of the first two innings. Junior leftfielder Joe Koch scored his 16th run of the season and first run of the game on one of Rider’s two doubles in the game.

The score remained 2-0 until the sixth inning when the Flashes had a three-run inning. The Penguins put themselves in trouble by giving Kent State another four-out inning by committing their third error of the game.

Junior David Lyon reached first base on a throwing error by the pitcher for the second time in the game. Campbell then moved Lyon to second with a single before Bagoly hit Lyon in with his second double of the game.

Freshman T.J. Sutton and freshman pinch hitter George Roberts hit Campbell and Bagoly in with back-to-back sacrifices flies.

The Flashes used five pitchers to shutout Youngstown State. After Bryant’s four innings, the Flashes’ bullpen allowed just four hits in the final six innings.

Sophomore right-handed reliever Ryan Adams relieved Bryant and gave up one hit in two innings.

Sophomore David Wright followed, pitching two-thirds of an inning. The right-handed reliever had some trouble, giving up two hits and two walks.

Freshman Dan Slavik relieved Wright with a two balls, one strike count with the bases loaded with two outs. After throwing a ball, Slavik caught a line drive up the middle to shut down Youngstown’s grand scoring opportunity.

Slavik pitched the eighth, struck out two and allowed one hit. Senior Justin Gill came into the ninth. After retiring the first batter and hitting the second, Gill retired the following two batters with two groundouts to third to end the game and continue Kent State’s win streak.

“It really shows our depth,” Stricklin said of his bullpen’s six shutout innings. “Our starters are so good for us on the weekend that some of our younger guys haven’t got the innings that they should.”

Rider said the team is having fun and relaxed as they continue cruising past each opponent.

“Our team thinks we’re going to win when we hit the field,” Stricklin said.

The Flashes conclude their two-game series with the Penguins Wednesday at Youngstown at 3 p.m.

Contact A.J. Atkinson at [email protected]