Flashes, Zips to raise money for Akron Children’s Hospital

Chris Gates

Junior infielder Brad Winter swings before missing the ball in the third inning in the game against Cleveland State University last night. The Flashes beat the Vikings 8-4. SAM TWAREK | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: DKS Editors

The Kent State baseball team and rival Akron will play each other for more than just the Mid-American Conference standings and bragging rights tonight. They will also be playing to benefit children.

The event, the Diamond Classic for Kids, is in its second year and is a function designed to support those at Akron Children’s Hospital. All proceeds through ticket sales will go to the hospital, as well as other donations because of the event.

“It’s a rivalry versus Akron, but more importantly it’s a game for charity and all the proceeds go to Children’s Hospital,” coach Scott Stricklin said. “We’re going to have the best weather day of the spring tomorrow evening so I really hope that we can get a good crowd.”

Held at Canal Park, both Kent State and Akron will get a chance to play in a major-league type facility. Canal Park is home to the Akron Aeros, the Double A Affiliate of the Cleveland Indians.

“I really want to see a good student turnout,” Stricklin said. “It’s such a great cause and great weather.”

The game will count toward each team’s overall record, but will not be counted as a Mid-American Conference game. The two meet again May 9-11, which will be the official MAC series for 2008.

“We’ll surely be taking notes during the game,” Stricklin said. “It’s going to be an intense game when we get between the lines, but the bottom line is, at the end of the game, we get to hand a paycheck to Children’s Hospital and feel pretty good about the effort that we gave.”

Former Kent State quarterback Joshua Cribbs is scheduled to throw out the first pitch.

Game time is set for 6 p.m., and gates open at 4:30 p.m. All tickets are $10.

Yesterday the Flashes had another northeast Ohio game, playing Cleveland State for the second time this season.

Since Kent State and Cleveland State last played each other on March 26, the Flashes had won eight of 13. Before then, the Flashes were 7-10.

After falling behind 1-0 in the first, Kent State scored five in the second to get an early four run lead.

After sophomore Conor Egan hit an RBI single, junior Ryan Mitchell hit a three-run double down the left field line. Before the inning ended, Kent State would add another run on a single by sophomore Anthony Gallas. Mitchell added another RBI in the eighth.

“He was aggressive when he had the bases loaded,” Stricklin said. “He swung the bat well all day and had a nice game.”

The Flashes and Vikings would trade runs from the third to the sixth inning, with Cleveland State scoring three and Kent State scoring two making the score 7-4. Junior starting pitcher Steve Ross held the game in check, doing enough to preserve the Kent State lead in his five innings.

Ross was unable to retire the Vikings in order, and his replacement Kyle Hallock had trouble as well. However, Hallock provided the Flashes with four innings of scoreless baseball, earning the save in a 8-4 win.

“Steve Ross had a good start for us, and then Kyle Hallock was really good in relief for us,” Stricklin said. “(Hallock) was very good for us today. That’s as good as he’s been all year, tonight.”

Ross received the win, his first of the season.

For the second game in a row, Kent State played errorless baseball. The Flashes increased their current win streak to seven games, a season high.

The Flashes will take that streak in to the Diamond Classic for Kids, and then a series at Bowling Green this weekend.

Contact sports reporter Chris Gates at [email protected].