Baseball team lights up the scoreboard in 17-11 victory

Lance Lysowski

Flashes play away games this weekend

The Kent State baseball team’s bats were just enough to overcome the team’s struggling pitching, scoring 17 runs en route to a 17-11 victory over Niagara.

Kent State coach Scott Stricklin said that he was pleased with the team’s performance despite pitching woes.

“Obviously, we scored a lot of runs,” Stricklin said. “In the middle of the week, a lot of times you have to score a lot of runs to win. Our offense came to swing the bats today; I thought we swung the bats well. You don’t want to give up that many runs, but fortunately for us, our hitters swung the bats and we scored enough to win.”

After scoring seven runs in the bottom of the first inning, Flashes junior pitcher Justin Gill allowed five runs on five hits in the second inning. Kent State responded in the fourth when senior left fielder Anthony Gallas hit a solo homerun to center field on a 2-2 count. Sophomore infielder Kyle McMillen added a sacrifice fly to give the Flashes the 9-6 lead.

Sophomore third baseman Travis Shaw, who went 3-for-5 with three runs batted in, said the team’s offense continues to thrive as they approach the end of the regular season. Shaw hit a two-run homerun to aid the Flashes’ seven run first inning.

“Recently, we’ve been swinging the bats well,” Shaw said. “We’re really focused and have been putting in a lot of work. We were disappointed when we didn’t sweep Ohio last weekend, so we wanted a win to pick up our momentum.”

In the fifth inning, the Flashes continued to add to their lead when freshman infielder Casey Wilson was driven in by junior right fielder Ben Klafczynski’s sacrifice fly to left field. Gallas doubled to center field to give the Flashes an 11-6 lead.

Niagara added five runs going into the bottom of the eighth inning to narrow the deficit to two, but the Flashes secured the win in the bottom half of the eighth.

With the bases loaded and one out, Klafczynski drove in three runs with a double to right-center field. Shaw’s single down the first base line gave Kent State a lead they wouldn’t surrender.

“I’ve been struggling recently, but I’m feeling better,” Shaw said. “It was one of those days. I was just seeing the ball well.”

Freshman pitcher Christian Lockett earned his second win of his career by pitching 2.2 innings, striking out two batters and allowing two runs.

The Flashes will begin a critical stretch of conference games this weekend when they travel to Miami with the first game starting at 6 p.m. on Friday.

Stricklin said that although the team’s offense is becoming more dangerous in warmer weather, the team still has a lot to work on moving forward.

“Our defense in the last few games has let us down a bit, but we’ve been the best defensive team all year long,” Stricklin said. “We haven’t played that way for the last few games so we have to sharpen things up defensively and get everyone on the same page. Get everything going at the same time and have momentum going into the tournament.”

Contact sports reporter Lance Lysowski at [email protected].