Flashes win comedy of errors

Tyler McIntosh

Sophomore Jason Patton runs to third base in the game against Niagra yesterday afternoon. CAITLIN PRARAT | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Jason Hall

The Kent State baseball team capitalized on a multitude of Niagara miscues while managing to prevent their own mistakes from coming back to haunt them in Wednesday’s 7-6 win.

The Flashes (21-23, 11-7 Mid-American Conference) and Purple Eagles (13-24) combined for eight errors, 13 walks and 10 wild pitches. Before yesterday, Kent State had gone five straight games without committing an error.

“They made a couple of mistakes for us and we returned the favor,” coach Scott Stricklin said. “It just wasn’t a real well-played baseball game by either side.”

A day after being rained out at Youngstown State, the Flashes jumped off to a quick start with three straight hits, which culminated with Andrew Davis’ two-run double to left.

Niagara’s Matt Jordan gave up three more runs in the second inning before being pulled from the game.

“We were just excited at the beginning of the game,” Kent State freshman catcher Tyler Martin said. “Everyone was loose.”

Ahead 6-3, it looked as if the Flashes were going to be able to easily hand the Purple Eagles their 11th loss in their last 12 games, but an explosive eighth by Niagara quickly made it a game again.

With two outs and two on in the top of the eighth, Kent State freshman relief pitcher Robert Sabo (2-0) threw a wild pitch that put runners on second and third. A slow rolling grounder to the third base side then caused problems, as Davis was unable to get a throw off to first base. One run would score on the play.

Senior closer Ryan Davis (3-3) came to the mound and walked the bases loaded before a ground ball up the middle by Jason Cramer drove in two and tied the game at 6.

“We got too relaxed, and they came back,” Martin said. “We have to try to stay up for the whole game. Midweek games we get tired.”

A single by junior second baseman Doug Sanders to start the bottom of the eighth put the winning run on the base paths. Another wild pitch eventually put Sanders at second base.

With one out in the inning, freshman left fielder Anthony Gallas sent a single up the middle that scored Sanders and secured the win for Kent State.

Ryan Davis and Reid Lamport kept Niagara scoreless in the ninth. Lamport earned the save, his second of the year, while Ryan Davis was credited with the win, improving his record to 3-3.

It was a day of firsts for Martin. The freshman catcher entered the game with no hits or RBIs in his young career. In the second inning, he drove in his first run while reaching on an error.

An inning later, Martin notched his first hit while driving in his second run of the day.

“It feels good,” he said. “I’ve been trying to get it all season, and I finally got one. (The pressure) built every time I got another at-bat and got out before I got a hit.”

The victory is Kent State’s fourth in a row. An unearned run off of freshman pitcher Jon Pokorny (1-1) broke an 18.2 innings streak of scoreless baseball by the Flashes’ bullpen.

Contact baseball reporter Tyler McIntosh at [email protected].