Baseball blows past Malone in opener

Chris Gates

Junior Steve Ross pitches during the third inning at the game against Malone yesterday at Schoonover Stadium. The Flashes went on to beat Malone 16-4. SAM TWAREK | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: DKS Editors

The home opener was a breeze for the Kent State baseball team. Aided by gusting winds, the Flashes won their home opener at Schoonover Stadium 16-4 yesterday.

Scoring in all but one inning of play, Kent State managed 16 runs on 19 hits in a victory over Malone College. The win was the fourth in a row for the Flashes, who have five more home games before hitting the road again.

“It was good to see us swing the bats; that’s something that we hadn’t done particularly well,” coach Scott Stricklin said. “It was good to have an offensive day and hit quite a few home runs.”

Five balls cruised over the outfield wall for home runs by five different hitters, highlighted by junior designated hitter Greg Rohan’s fifth and freshman outfielder Ben Klafczynski’s fourth.

Kent State (7-10) trailed after the first inning 1-0, but the deficit didn’t last long. In the second the Flashes tallied two runs on three hits and took the lead.

Malone tied the score at two in the top of the third, but once again it would be short-lived as Kent State jumped ahead for good in the bottom half of the third.

Rohan’s fifth home run, a solo shot, made the score 3-2. Then, after a walk, a hit batter and a wild pitch, freshman infielder Brett Weibley doubled to center field and drove in two more.

Later in the inning, sophomore outfielder Anthony Gallas homered, his third of the year, and made the score 9-2. A total of seven runs were scored in the third inning.

In innings four through seven, Kent State notched one run an inning, and ended the game with three more in the eighth to win by a final of 16-4.

Every starting batter registered at least one hit in the game, which is the first time since the 2001 season such a feat has occurred. The windy weather conditions may have played a part in the offensive success.

“Days like today are days you want to hit fly balls,” Stricklin said. “We hit some long fly balls today and the wind carried a couple of them out. I thought a couple of them were home runs anyway.”

The homestand will continue tomorrow against Cleveland State at 3 p.m. The Flashes need to string together consecutive home wins in order to pull back over the .500 mark for the season. Home has been a place where Kent State has been able to do just that, winning 17 of the 22 games at Schoonover Stadium last season.

“You’re at home, you’re sleeping in your own bed, you’re just around familiar surroundings,” Stricklin added. “We’re very comfortable in our home park.”

Kent State will also try to continue their winning streak, playing three games against Ball State and one against Niagara to finish the home stand. The series with Ball State is the first in Mid-American Conference play for the Flashes.

Contact sports reporter Chris Gates at [email protected].