Kent State gets help from Ashland in win

Josh Johnston

Flashes score nine unearned runs to beat Eagles in home opener

Junior Cory Hindel tags Ashland’s junior catcher Josh Kirsten out in the second inning of yesterday’s game. The Golden Flashes beat the Ashland Eagles 16-10. Caitlin Sirse | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

The Kent State baseball team’s bats bailed out its struggling pitching staff in a 16-10 win over Ashland yesterday afternoon at Schoonover Stadium.

Sophomore right fielder Ben Klafczynski knocked in three runs to lead the Flashes (9-4) in their first home game this season. On the mound, however, Kent State struggled, allowing 10 earned runs and giving up an early six-run lead.

“Offensively, I thought we swung the bats really well,” Kent State manager Scott Stricklin said. “But I was not happy at all with our pitching. You give up 10 runs to anybody, it’s just unacceptable.”

On the day, Kent State collected 15 hits, including five singles by junior left fielder Anthony Gallas. Despite reaching first base on every plate appearance, Gallas said his day was disappointing.

“I really didn’t think it was that good,” he said. “I was hitting singles. I’ve been struggling lately at the plate. I was trying to make contact … so it worked out.”

Starting pitcher junior Kyle Smith allowed three hits while striking out three in the first two innings. The Flashes’ next three pitchers – senior Steven Davis, freshman Brannon Belair and sophomore Robert Sabo – surrendered eight runs over the next 4 2/3 innings to the Eagles.

At the plate, Kent State was able to string together hits throughout the game for runs. The Flashes took a 7-1 lead after a six-run third inning, which featured five hits, including a home run shot by senior first baseman Greg Rohan.

The Eagles came back, taking advantage of a weak performance by Kent State’s bullpen. Ashland first baseman Ben Minard tied the score at the top of the sixth with a sacrifice fly to center field, but the Flashes drove in two runs in their next at bat to keep the lead.

“Anthony Gallas, (senior shortstop) Chris Tremblay (senior infielder) and Ben Klafczynski, those three guys all swung the bat really well today,” Sticklin said. “They’ve been struggling a little bit. It was good to see them swing the bat and come through with some big hits.”

Even with hot bats at the plate, the Flashes needed a little help to win. Ashland scattered five errors in the game to give Kent State nine unearned runs. Without the errors, Stricklin said he doubted his team would have won.

“There’s no question about it,” he said. “They shot themselves in the foot today by not making routine plays. We took advantage of it.”

Kent State will play the second game of a seven-game homestand at 3 p.m. today at Schoonover Stadium against Duquesne.

Contact sports reporter Josh Johnston at [email protected].