Kent State falls in weekend opener

Chris Gates

The first of four games this weekend was not in the Kent State baseball team’s favor, as nationally ranked St. John’s beat the Flashes 9-4 in Winthrop, S.C.

The weekend will test where Kent State is as a team at the beginning of the season, playing both St. John’s and North Carolina, which are both nationally ranked.

“St. John’s is a very good ball club, and they played very well,” coach Scott Stricklin said. “They out-pitched us and they out-played us. They deserved to win the game.”

The Flashes fell behind early, with starting pitching again posing a problem. Junior Alan Morrison lasted only four innings.

“Alan didn’t have his best stuff,” Stricklin said. “He was behind on a lot of hitters. He wasn’t his sharpest.”

Kent State was behind 7-1 in the fifth, knowing that a comeback against a team like the Red Storm would be a tough task.

The Flashes outscored their opponent 3-2 from that point, but have yet to jump ahead early and protect a lead in the four games this season.

“We fell behind early,” Stricklin said. “(We’re) still playing a little bit sloppy, not playing quite aggressive enough. Hopefully that’s a product of it still being early.

“As soon as our guys start to get more games under their belts I think we’ll start playing with a little more confidence,” he added.

The Flashes will have three more games, against North Carolina today, Winthrop Saturday and a final placement game on Sunday, to round out the weekend.

“It’s a great test for our guys,” Stricklin said. “To play a team like St. John’s, to play North Carolina (Friday) and Winthrop on Saturday, it’s good early experience.”

The Flashes are 1-3 so far on the season, and could climb back to .500 by winning the rest of the weekend. Game time for North Carolina is set for today at 12:30 p.m.

Contact sports reporter Chris Gates at [email protected].