Baseball team travels to Western Michigan

A.J. Atkinson

The Kent State baseball team returns to conference play this weekend, traveling to Kalamazoo, Mich., to play Western Michigan in a three-game series.

The Flashes arrive looking to improve their 12-10 overall record and 2-1 Mid-American Conference record against 13-12 Western Michigan (3-1 in the MAC).

The Broncos’ hitters, currently eighth in the MAC in batting average, will face the Flashes’ dominant pitching staff, currently second in the MAC in earned run average (3.04).

Andrew Chafin, the pitching staff’s ace, takes the mound Friday for the Flashes. The lefty struck out a career-high 15 batters, walked none and gave up just four hits in his last start, which earned him Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week and MAC East Division Player of the Week. He enters the series with a 3-1 record, a 0.53 earned run average, holds opponents to a .155 batting average and carries a 42 to 8 strikeout to walk ratio in 33.2 innings.

Senior Kyle Hallock will start Saturday for the Flashes. The lefty is 2-4 on the year with a 3.25 earned run average with 27 strikeouts and 12 walks in 36 innings. Hallock had a rough start last Saturday, giving up five runs on nine hits in six innings in the 5-2 loss to Toledo.

Junior David Starn gets the start Sunday in the final game of the three-game series. Starn leads the staff in innings pitched with 40.1 and is second to Chafin for lowest earned run average (1.56). The lefty won his third game of the season (3-1) in the Flashes’ 8-2 victory over Toledo last Sunday.

Western Michigan pitchers have a strong Flashes lineup to defend. Five of the Kent State batters are hitting above a .300 average. Catcher David Lyon received the MAC East Division Player of the Week honor for his strong performance last weekend, when the junior batted .778 with two doubles, a home run, six runs batted in and a run scored.

First pitch is scheduled for Friday at 3 p.m., with Saturday and Sunday’s game both starting at 1 p.m.

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