Klafczynski powers Flashes to sweep of Duquesne

Josh Johnston

Sophomore hits two homers in doubleheader

Sophomore left fielder Ben Klafczynski only had three hits during yesterday’s doubleheader at Duquesne. Two of those he sent sailing out of the ballpark in the Kent State baseball team’s sweep over the Dukes.

Behind a three-run homer in game one and a grand slam in game two, Klafczynski aided the No. 21 Flashes (34-9) in 14-12 and 13-0 wins against Duquesne. With the wins, Kent State moved to 3-0 on the season against the Dukes.

“It’s always tough to sweep a doubleheader, no matter who you’re playing,” Kent State coach Scott Stricklin said. “It’s nice to come here and get two wins. Our bats were live both games. When you score 27 runs in two games, you’ve got to be happy with that.”

Kent State scored in every frame of the seven-inning first game, collecting 16 total hits on the way. Klafczynski launched his first home run of the night in the second inning to give the Flashes a 5-1 lead.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, however, Kent State nearly watched a 13-4 advantage disappear after freshman shortstop Jimmy Rider misplayed a ground ball with two outs and the bases loaded.

The Dukes rallied from that point, drawing a walk and then clearing the bases with a grand slam by center fielder Andrew Heck. When the dust settled, Duquesne had chopped Kent State’s lead to three runs.

“We had a comfortable lead and let it get away,” Stricklin said. “Unfortunately, we made an error in that situation, but errors are going to happen. There was nothing we could do about it.”

Senior right fielder Jason Patton hit a solo shot in the seventh inning to give the Flashes some breathing room. The Dukes threatened Kent State’s lead in their final at-bats by plating two runs with no outs, but freshman Andrew Chafin struck out three straight batters to preserve the win.

Kent State’s pitchers never gave Duquesne a chance in game two. Five Flashes combined to three-hit the Dukes over seven innings, striking out 11 total batters.

While the pitchers stifled Duquesne’s hitters, Kent State’s hitters blasted Dukes’ starter Jim Devine for 11 runs in 2 2/3 innings. During the scoring frenzy, Klafczynski belted his second career grand slam.

“I thought we swung the bats very well,” Stricklin said. “Offensively, I think we’ve been very good in the last eight or so games. I’m happy with the wins, the way the team’s swinging the bat, and I hope it can continue into the weekend.”

This weekend, Kent State will return to Mid-American Conference play with a three-game series at Buffalo.

Contact sports reporter Josh Johnston at [email protected].