Fighting Scots flummox KSU

Tyler McInotsh

Mental mistakes catch up to Flashes as Wooster picks up the win

Junior pitcher Dominique Rodgers throws a strike in the top of the sixth inning against College of Wooster. The Golden Flashes fell to Wooster 3-2.

Daniel Owen | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: Ron Soltys

The College of Wooster had nothing to lose in yesterday’s 3-2 win against Kent State.

Even though they brought a 27-1 record into the game, they were still a division III school playing a division I opponent who beat them by 11 runs a year ago.

But with the win, on Kent State’s field no less, Wooster legitimized their record.

“This is obviously a big game for them, coming to play us,” coach Scott Stricklin said. “They came in with a chip on their shoulder, and we tried to talk to our guys about it, that a very good baseball team was going to come in here and do their best to beat us.”

Evidence of just how much the Fighting Scots wanted this game was found on the pitcher’s mound where staff ace Adam Samson (6-0 1.83 ERA) allowed only four hits and two runs in 6.1 innings.

“They pitched it well,” Stricklin said. “(Wooster) swung the bats well and made all the defensive plays.”

Sophomore Alan Morrison (1-1 6.12 ERA) got the midweek start for the Flashes (15-21, 6-6 Mid-American Conference), and for most of his 4.1 innings, he walked a tightrope with Wooster hitters.

After striking out Wooster’s leadoff hitter in the first, Morrison proceeded to surrender three straight singles. Thanks to a backhand grab and throw to home by senior third baseman Andrew Davis, Wooster only managed to produce one run.

Morrison got himself into similar situations in the second and third innings. A bloop hit by Jake Sankal scored one run in the second, and a sacrifice fly by Brandon Boesiger plated Wooster’s final run in the third.

After Morrison left, the Flashes’ bullpen, as it usually does, dominated. Junior Dominique Rodgers and senior Jason Seelman combined to give up just two hits the rest of the game. The bullpen has not given up a run in its last 10.2 innings.

Kent State’s best chance to avoid the Wooster upset came in the seventh inning. With runners on first and second, freshman center fielder Connor Eagan’s RBI double brought the Flashes within one.

“I was just looking for a good pitch to hit,” Eagan said. “I took a strike, and I was in the hole. I got an outside fastball, and I just stroked it right through the four hole.”

Sophomore shortstop Chris Tremblay then drew a one-out walk, and sophomore second baseman Doug Sanders came up with the bases loaded and one out. However, Wooster’s Matt Barnes forced Sanders into an inning-ending double play.

After a 1-2-3 eighth, Wooster closer Mark Miller came on for the save.

Sanders led Kent State with two hits, and sophomore first baseman Brad Winter’s sacrifice fly in the third drove in a run.

Stricklin was thrown out in the eighth for arguing with the umpires.

After the game, it was mental lapses that Stricklin was unhappy about.

“We missed a sign and got a guy picked off,” Stricklin said. “In close games it can’t happen. If you look at this team over the course of the year, that’s happened way too much. We’ve made way too many mental mistakes. You can attribute it to youth a little bit, but it all falls back on me and the coaching staff.”

Contact baseball reporter Tyler McIntosh at [email protected].