Spring break surge gets KSU baseball back into MAC East hunt

Tyler McIntosh

At the beginning of last week, the Kent State baseball team was at a crossroads. The Flashes had lost four of their last five games and were just 6-12 overall; the season was close to slipping away before it even really started.

A lot has changed in a week.

After taking two out of three games from Western Michigan and midweek wins over Cleveland State and Pittsburgh, the Flashes were riding a four-game winning streak into a weekend showdown with Central Michigan. The Chippewas were riding a six-game streak of their own.

After splitting the first two games of the series, Central Michigan proved worthy of its label as the preseason Mid-American Conference favorite as it defeated Kent State 9-2 yesterday.

Kent State senior pitcher John Pacella (1-4) allowed four runs, three earned, in 2.1 innings. Senior infielder Andrew Davis and sophomore Brad Winter both had a hit and an RBI for Kent State.

The Chippewas’ Kurt Lauscher allowed just two runs in eight innings to pick up the win. Tyler Stouvall led the offense with four RBIs.

Friday, Central Michigan ended Kent State’s four-game winning streak with a 2-1 win. The Flashes (11-15, 3-3) returned the favor Saturday by stopping the Chippewas’ own seven-game streak with an 8-4 victory in 11 innings.

Junior Ryan Tokarz hit a game-winning one-out double in the 11th inning that drove in sophomore Greg Rohan. The Flashes scored three more runs in the 11th before senior closer Ryan Davis (2-2) blanked the Chippewas to end the game, 8-4.

Before losing two games to Central Michigan, Kent State defeated Cleveland State and Pittsburgh and took two out of three against Western Michigan over spring break.

Wednesday, the Flashes got their third shutout of the season when four pitchers combined to hold Pittsburgh to just two hits in a 3-0 win.

Freshman reliever Robert Sabo (1-0) pitched two perfect innings to get the win while senior closer Ryan Davis converted the save. Rohan had a two-out RBI double in the 6th inning to break up a then scoreless game.

Tuesday, Kent State matched its highest offensive output of the year when it beat Cleveland State, 12-7. Junior infielder Doug Sanders, Rohan and Winter had three hits apiece.

Winter’s four RBIs were a career-high. Andrew Davis also had three RBIs, giving him a team-best 21 for the season. Sophomore starting pitcher Steven Davis (1-2) went five innings and struck out four in his first victory of the season.

Kent State started MAC play last weekend by losing its first game against Western Michigan, 4-3. The Flashes proceeded to win the final two games of the series, 7-5 and 5-1.

Relievers Dominique Rodgers (1-3) and Jon Pokorny (1-0) picked up the wins, while Andrew Davis and Rohan combined for two home runs and six RBIs.

In all, the Flashes won five of eight games during the break, which was good enough to put them into sole possession of second place in the MAC East.

Kent State will play 5 p.m. tomorrow at Cleveland State.

Contact baseball reporter Tyler McIntosh at [email protected].