Eight-run sixth fuels comeback

Chris Gates

Steady relief pitching plus offensive surge carries Flashes to win

Freshman pitcher Corey Martin delivers in the Flashes’ game against the Wooster Scots at Schoonover Stadium yesterday. BRIAN MARKS | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: DKS Editors

After 14 unanswered runs, the Kent State baseball team convincingly beat Wooster 15-4.

The Flashes combined a strong long relief outing by freshman Cory Martin, along with tons of run support, to easily beat the Scots.

“I felt real good once I got in a groove,” Martin said. “The first couple batters, I showed a little bit getting behind in the count. After that (I) got in a groove and settled in.”

Wooster entered the third inning leading 4-1, but pitching mistakes hurt the Scots and allowed the Flashes to tie the game in the bottom of the inning.

Kent State loaded the bases by way of two hit batters and a single. With the bases full, junior first baseman Greg Rohan showed patience at the plate, earning a walk and an RBI to make the score 4-2.

Sophomore center fielder Jared Bartholomew did the same, walking and driving in a run, making the score 4-3. The very next batter, sophomore infielder Anthony Gallas, hit a sacrifice fly to left field to tie the game at four.

“Our guys had pretty good at-bats,” Kent State coach Scott Stricklin said. “We took our walks, and when we got an opportunity to drive guys in, guys came up with some big hits.”

The fourth inning brought more Kent State offense. Freshman third baseman Brett Weibly led off the inning with a double and quickly moved to third on a balk by senior Wooster pitcher Adam Samson.

With Weibly on third, junior shortstop Chris Tremblay was able to beat out an infield single, putting the Flashes ahead for good. The throw to first on the play was high, allowing Tremblay to move to second.

Rohan then stepped to the plate with two outs and Tremblay on third. Rohan waited for a pitch he liked and found one, doubling to right center.

After Kent State took the lead in the fourth inning, Cory Martin took over on the mound. Martin pitched from the fourth to the seventh, allowing no runs on two hits.

“He threw four scoreless innings in a tight game,” Stricklin said. “That was big for him and for us. We were hoping he’d go three (innings).

“It was also good for our staff,” he added. “We’re a little bit shorthanded with five games during the week. You’ve got to have your guys eat some innings up. Him being able to throw four innings was a big help to our staff.”

With Wooster unable to score against Martin, the Flashes provided the freshman much needed, run support. An eight-run bottom of the sixth, highlighted by freshman Ben Klafczynski’s double and junior Ryan Mitchell’s home run, and the game was seemingly out of reach for the Scots. Wooster’s pitching struggled all inning, as Kent State had runners in scoring position virtually all inning. When the dust settled, the Flashes had scored eight runs on four hits and one error, making the score 14-4.

“The offense was awesome,” Martin said. “When you score 15 runs, that always makes it easy on a pitcher. It was a great team performance today. If we keep playing like that, we’ll keep this thing rolling.”

The excitement died a bit after the sixth, until an unlikely face stepped to the rubber on the pitchers mound. Many of the fans had already found the exits, missing a special performance.

Weibly, who had played the majority of the game at third base, was sent in by Stricklin to pitch. Weibly retired all three batters he faced in order. Striking out one and only needing nine pitches to get his three outs.

“We’ve been trying to get Brett an inning all year long,” Stricklin said. “He’s got a great arm and he’s (going to) throw more for us. That wasn’t just for fun.”

The Flashes added another run in the bottom of the eighth, finishing off the scoring.

The Flashes face Duquesne today at 3 p.m., followed by a Mid-American Conference series at home against Toledo.

Contact sports reporter Chris Gates at [email protected].