Two-run seventh secures win for Flashes

Tyler McIntosh


Kent State freshman outfielder Conor Egan runs over Malone sophomore catcher Jon Lutton to tie the game at 1 during the fourth inning. The Flashes scored two runs in the seventh inning to earn a 3-1 victory yesterday ov

Credit: Adam Griffiths

A pitchers’ duel between Kent State’s Brad Stillings and Malone’s Sam Campitella was probably the last thing anyone expected in the Flashes’ 3-1 win yesterday.

Stillings, a freshman who had pitched just 10.1 innings – all in relief – prior to yesterday’s game, made his first career start and Campitella came into the game with a 5.97 ERA. Also, the Flashes were coming off a weekend in which they scored 36 runs, and Malone is a small school from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.

Stillings overcame a rough first inning to give up just four hits and one run while striking out four in five innings. He also worked his way out of a fifth-inning jam.

“I was kind of nervous in the first inning, but after that, I settled down,” Stillings said. “I think I was getting a little tired, and I was trying to overthrow a little bit to make up for it, so I started releasing it high and throwing more balls than I’d like.

“You just have to keep it down low in the zone and throw as many low quality strikes as you can.”

Not to be outdone, Campitella went six innings and allowed only one run for the Pioneers.

Once Campitella left the game, the Flashes (15-20, 6-6 Mid-American Conference) wasted little time going after Malone’s relievers. Sophomore shortstop Chris Tremblay led off the seventh with a single. A sacrifice bunt attempt by sophomore designated hitter Doug Sanders was then misplayed by Malone catcher Jon Lutton, which moved Tremblay to third.

Freshman outfielder Anthony Gallas’ groundout plated Tremblay to put Kent State up, 2-1. The Flashes added another run on an RBI single by sophomore outfielder Jason Patton.

Even with the seventh-inning rally, Stricklin said he was not happy with Kent State’s offense. The Flashes stranded at least one runner on base in every inning.

“I’m disappointed in the lack of runs that we scored. I thought offensively we were not very good today,” Stricklin said. “If it wasn’t for our pitching, we would not have won today’s game.

“Offensively, we have to get better. We have to have a more complete focus. We have to have better at-bats, one through nine.”

Freshman reliever Robert Sabo, who got the win, came in for Stillings in the sixth inning and struck out four over three scoreless innings. Senior closer Ryan Davis secured his fifth save of the year when he picked a Malone runner off first with two on and two outs in the ninth.

“Brad Stillings gave us a great start, and Robert Sabo (2-0) came in and gave us three very good innings out of the bullpen,” Stricklin said. “I’m very happy with way we pitched. That gave us an opportunity to win.”

Tremblay and Patton both finished 2-for-4, while junior infielder Ryan Tokarz drove in his third RBI of the year.

Kent State will make up a previously rained out game with Wooster 4 p.m. today at Schoonover stadium.

Contact baseball reporter Tyler McIntosh at [email protected].