Flashes slam the Huskies

Shaw’s homer caps sweep for baseball team

VIEW a slide show from the game.

The Kent State baseball team charged the field and mobbed freshman pinch hitter Travis Shaw as he crossed home plate to finish the sweep of Northern Illinois.

Shaw, who entered the game to pinch-hit for junior catcher Cory Hindel, hit a grand slam in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat Northern Illinois 13-9 yesterday.

Shaw had a similar experience against Malone on Tuesday when he batted with the bases loaded during a tied game in the 10th inning. Shaw hit a single to give the Flashes a 3-2 win.

He watched the two first pitches whiz by to make the count 2-0. Shaw said the third pitch was exactly what he wanted: a fastball right down the center of the plate.

“I was just looking for a fastball I can drive,” he said.

The baseball cleared the 285-foot sign in left-center to score four runs.

Sophomore right fielder Ben Klafczynski started the inning by reaching first on an error by the second baseman. Junior center fielder Jared Humphreys followed with a single up the middle; Klafczynski advanced to third base.

Northern Illinois pitcher Zach Oates intentionally walked senior designated hitter Jason Patton to load the bases and set up Shaw’s grand slam.

The Flashes started the game with a quick 1-0 lead when senior shortstop Chris Tremblay scored on senior first baseman Greg Rohan’s RBI double.

But the lead quickly slipped away.

“We had a lot of energy to begin the game,” Kent State manager Stricklin said, “but then we made some mistakes and we lost some energy. Then we got some back.”

Starting pitcher sophomore Kyle Hallock pitched 3 2/3 innings, giving up five earned runs, including three runs in the second inning.

“We didn’t pitch the ball very well today,” Stricklin said. “We didn’t play very well for the first six innings.”

Four pitchers took the mound for the Flashes in the first six innings. The only pitcher that exited the game without giving up an earned run in those six innings was freshman reliever David Starn.

Starn pitched one inning and had two strikeouts. Following Starn was sophomore Justin Gill, who finished the seventh inning with no trouble but found himself in a jam in the eighth.

After getting one out from an infield grounder, he gave up a home run to Northern Illinois third baseman Jordin Hood. The count was 0-2 when he threw an off-speed pitch that hung over the plate.

“Our offense picked up the slack today because our pitching wasn’t the greatest,” Shaw said.

Junior Jon Pokorny came in to relieve Gill. Pokorny finished the game without allowing a run, striking out four of the six batters he faced.

“He came out and shut the door on them,” Shaw said in reference to Pokorny pitching.

Pokorny earned the win for the Flashes, his second on the year.

Stricklin said Starn and Pokorny were the only two pitchers who performed well during the game.

In the bottom of the eighth, the Flashes were down two runs until Rohan hit a single to tie the game.

“This (game) was huge for us,” Shaw said. “We wanted to make a statement here.”

Previous to yesterday’s game, the Flashes were an offensive machine against Northern Illinois.

On Saturday, the team beat the Huskies 20-9. The Flashes scored seven runs in the first inning.

The team also beat the Huskies on Friday night, 9-3. Junior left fielder Anthony Gallas contributed with three runs batted in.

The Flashes look to continue their five-game winning streak when they play Canisius at home Tuesday.

Contact sports correspondent Cody Erbacher at [email protected].