Baseball team takes over first place with weekend series win

Cody Erbacher

Flashes win two out of three games with Ohio

The Kent State baseball team moved into first place in the Mid-American Conference after beating Ohio 8-5 yesterday in Athens.

The Flashes moved a half-game ahead of the Bobcats after winning two out of the three games this weekend. The Flashes won Saturday’s game with a 28-16 score, while they lost 17-8 on Friday.

Yesterday’s game showcased pitching instead of the batting frenzy of the previous two games.

“The wind wasn’t blowing out as much during the game compared to (Saturday’s) game,” freshman closer Andrew Chafin said.

Sophomore Kyle Hallock started for the Flashes yesterday. Hallock entered the first with a comfortable five-run lead, but that quickly changed after the Bobcats scored four runs.

The score remained 5-4 until the bottom of the fifth, when Ohio right fielder Hayden Johnston hit a solo home run to tie the game.

After Hallock left the game in the bottom of the fifth inning, the Flashes’ pitching staff gave up no more runs.

Hallock gave up five runs on seven hits. Two of the runs were unearned because they were scored off errors in the first and fifth innings.

The teams were still tied until the sixth inning, when senior designated hitter Ryan Mitchell hit a two-run homer to give the team a 7-5 lead.

Junior Jon Pokorny got the win in relief, pitching through the seventh inning after entering the game for Hallock in the fifth. Pokorny had two strikeouts and gave up three hits in 2 2/3 innings.

The Flashes got an extra insurance run in the ninth when freshman second baseman Jimmy Rider hit a sacrifice fly to score junior catcher Cory Hindel.

Chafin entered the game in the eighth and struck out three batters in two innings to end the game and earn his seventh save this season.

“I just wanted to go in, shut them down and let my defense work behind me,” he said.

The two teams’ offensive efforts yesterday seem positively tame compared to Saturday’s game, when the teams combined for 44 runs and 46 hits.

The victories Saturday and yesterday were enough to move the Flashes ahead of Ohio and into first place in the MAC. Ohio had a half-game lead going into the weekend.

Chafin said the Flashes are happy to be in first place now, but it’s not that big of a deal to the team.

“It doesn’t matter where we’re at right now because it matters where we finish up,” he said.

The team travels to Pittsburgh on Wednesday to take on Duquesne in a doubleheader.

Contact sports correspondent Cody Erbacher at [email protected].