Five-run third inning lifts Flashes to victory

Josh Johnston

Junior Brett Weibley, the Flashes’ sixth pitcher of the day, retired three of the four batters he faced in the ninth. Weibley struck out two and walked one in the Flashes’ 7-5 win over Duquesne. Brittany Ankrom | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

With the bases loaded and his team behind 2-1 in the third inning, senior third baseman Brad Winter lifted a full-count pitch out to center field. The wind at Schoonover Stadium took it far enough to give Winter a three-run triple.

The shot started a five-run rally that was just enough to give the Kent State baseball team a 7-5 win over Duquesne yesterday afternoon.


Kent State 7, Duquesne 5

Top performers:

Shortstop Chris Tremblay: 3-5 (single, double, triple), run scored

Pitcher Justin Gill: 1 2/3 innings pitched, 3 strikeouts

“I put a good swing on it, and luckily it found a hole,” Winter said. “I thought it went over (the center fielder’s) head, but then I saw the wind stopped it. I thought he might catch it, but he didn’t.”

After scoring five runs in the third inning, the Flashes’ bats fell silent as they scattered three hits and one run over the next five innings. Kent State’s pitching staff, which struggled in Tuesday’s win over Ashland, picked up the slack by blanking the Dukes (3-15) in four of the final six innings.

“I thought we were much better on the mound,” Kent State manager Scott Stricklin said. “That was our emphasis from (Tuesday). I wasn’t thrilled with us offensively. I thought we had a lot of poor at-bats in the middle of the game. I think we had some chances to score some runs, but we didn’t.”

Kent State (10-4) stranded five runners in scoring position throughout the game and scored an unearned run off a throwing error in the third inning. After scoring nine unearned runs on Ashland’s five errors Tuesday, the Flashes again benefited from their opponent’s poor defense.

“It’s always good to get a win, but like coach was saying, we need to get better and not be satisfied,” Winter said. “We didn’t score in the last (two) innings. A team as good as we can be shouldn’t do that stuff.”

In the bottom of the second, freshman first baseman Travis Shaw belted a solo home run over the fence in right-center to start the Flashes’ scoring and tie the score at 1-1. The Dukes retook the lead in the third inning with an RBI double by shortstop Derrik Zeroski.

Kent State’s first five batters reached base against Duquesne pitcher Lawrence Anderson to start the bottom of the third, including Winter on his triple.

The Dukes chipped away at Kent State’s lead with a run in the fifth inning and two in the seventh, but sophomore pitchers Justin Gill and Brett Weibley combined to retire Duquesne’s last eight batters to preserve the win.

Senior shortstop Chris Tremblay collected three hits in five at-bats and fell a home run shy of a cycle. His triple to lead off the sixth inning tied Thurman Munson’s career total of 11 and moved Tremblay to second all-time at Kent State.

“It’s actually pretty cool,” Tremblay said of his achievement. “He’s in the major league hall of fame, and obviously he’s an alumnus here. We take pride that he went here; we’ve got a locker set out for him in the clubhouse. It’s awesome. I’m really proud of it.”

Kent State will open Mid-American Conference play this weekend with a three-game series against Eastern Michigan. Last season, the Eagles ended the Flashes’ season with a 12-4 win in the MAC Tournament championship game.

“There’s no question about it – our guys will be ready to play,” Stricklin said. “They ended our season last year. They won that game; they deserved to win it. That’s something that we’ve been thinking about for a long time.”

Contact sports reporter Josh Johnston at [email protected].