Baseball wins Coca-Cola Classic

Brad Tansey

After losing five straight games, including Tuesday’s loss to Duquesne, the Kent State baseball team won the Coca-Cola Classic in Rock Hill, S.C., this weekend.

Kent State coach Scott Stricklin said it was nice to see his offense perform the way they did at the Classic.

“I thought (Saturday) we just really started swinging the bats,” Stricklin said. “We felt like we would be an offensive team this year. It was good to see us put some runs up on the board.”

The Flashes’ bats came alive, scoring 34 runs in the four-game tournament.

Kent State was led by senior Anthony Gallas, who hit for the cycle in Saturday’ 16-10 win over tournament host Winthrop. Gallas is the first Kent State player to hit for the cycle since 1995.

“In the Winthrop game (Gallas) hit everything as hard as you could possibly hit it,” Stricklin said. “He came up with some big hits and hit the ball to all fields. He was really, really good.”

Gallas drove in six runs on five hits Saturday.

The Flashes split Friday’s double-header, losing to Penn State 7-3 in the first game and beating Columbia 5-2 in the second.

Kent State junior pitcher Robert Sabo (1-3) picked up his first win this season in game two of Friday’s double-header. Sabo struck out eight while allowing one run on four hits and three walks in seven innings.

Kent State shortstop Jimmy Rider went 4-for-9 on Friday with one run scored and two RBIs.

The Flashes were led by junior pitcher Kyle Hallock in Sunday’s championship game.

Hallock (1-2) pitched five innings, allowing two unearned runs on four hits with five strikeouts and no walks.

“(Hallock) was as good as he’s been all year,” Stricklin said.

Kent State jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the third inning after Kent State senior center fielder Jared Humphreys scored the game’s first run on a wild pitch from Penn State pitcher John Walter.

Humphreys scored again in the fourth inning behind Rider’s double to left field to put Kent State up 4-0.

Taking advantage of a throwing error by sophomore third baseman Travis Shaw and a wild pitch by Hallock, the Nittany Lions cut the lead in half in the fifth.

The Flashes responded in the sixth inning with a pair of doubles by Humphreys and junior right fielder Ben Klafczynski. A two-run home run by Shaw increased Kent State’s lead to 8-2.

Penn State attempted a comeback in the eighth inning, scoring three runs to bring the score to 9-5.

Kent State freshman second baseman Evan Campbell hit an RBI single in the bottom of the eighth to seal the 10-5 victory for the Flashes.

Kent State pitcher Brett Weibley recorded his second save of the season, pitching the final 1 1/3 innings for the Flashes.

The Flashes return to action against Cleveland State at 3 p.m. tomorrow at Schoonover Stadium.

Contact sports correspondent Brad Tansey at [email protected].