One streak ended but another is still riding strong. That streak is the Kent State baseball team’s seven straight wins within the Mid-American Conference.
Kent State’s next opponent, Ohio University, will test the Flashes’ good fortune. The Bobcats come to Schoonover Stadium with a 19-20 overall record, and are 8-7 in the MAC. Their powerful lineup will provide Kent State’s pitchers with all sorts of problems.
“They really swing the bat,” coach Scott Stricklin said. “They’re a very offensive club.”
Five men in Ohio’s lineup own a batting average of .340 or higher, the leader being junior Brandon Besl at .385.
“We’re going to have to pitch well,” Stricklin said. “If we do that, as always, we’ll have a great chance to win. They swing the bat and they’re very offensive.”
The Flashes take on Ohio this weekend at Schoonover Stadium in a series with first place on the line. Currently, Kent State leads Ohio by percentage points in the Mid-American Conference East.
MAC East Standings:
1. Kent State 7-5 MAC, 22-16 Overall
2. Ohio 8-7, 19-20
3. Bowling Green 6-6, 19-16
4. Akron 4-5, 19-14
5. Buffalo 4-10, 11-26
6. Miami 4-11, 13-26
Kent State (22-16, 7-5 MAC) will feature the same rotation that pitched at Bowling Green last weekend. Sophomore Brad Stillings will pitch Friday, junior Chris Carpenter Saturday and sophomore Kyle Smith Sunday. The three combined to allow only five runs to the Falcons.
Ohio will counter with starters who match up equally with Kent State. Junior Chris Rigo will start Friday, junior Zach Elmer Saturday and senior Matt Smith Sunday.
Along with pitching, Kent State will have to continue to produce offensively. In the last six games, the Flashes have averaged just over 10 runs a game. The duo of sophomore Anthony Gallas and junior Greg Rohan have combined for 17 home runs and 63 RBIs thus far in 2008.
When the weekend is over, the team that wins the series will own the top spot in the MAC East. The Flashes currently have a percentage points lead over Ohio.
The series starts today at 3 p.m. at Schoonover Stadium.
Contact sports reporter Chris Gates at [email protected]