Flashes move to within one of first place

Tyler McIntosh

It’s now within their reach.

After starting Mid-American Conference play with a less-than-stellar 4-5 record, the Kent State baseball team now sits just one game out of first place in the MAC East after taking two out of three games from division leader Miami over the weekend.

Kent State (17-22, 8-7 MAC) capped off one of its most important weekends of the season with a 6-5 win yesterday.

Making his first start since 2005, junior Chris Carpenter (1-0, 4.40 ERA) retired the first five hitters before Miami’s Jeff Carroll started a RedHawk second-inning spurt with a single through the middle. By the time the inning was over, Miami had scored two runs.

Carpenter gave up two more runs in his third and final inning before being pulled for senior John Pacella (2-4, 4.66 ERA). Pacella, who picked up his second win of the year, scattered four hits and allowed one run over 3.1 innings to keep the game close.

In the top of the fifth, sophomore infielder Chris Tremblay cut Miami’s lead in half with a two-out, two-run double. One batter later, sophomore infielder Doug Sanders tied the game at 4 with his second home run of the year.

The Flashes continued their assault on Miami’s Chris Niro in the sixth when freshman outfielder Anthony Gallas and sophomore first baseman Brad Winter hit back-to-back home runs to give Kent State a 6-4 lead.

Gallas is now leading Kent State with a .341 average and seven home runs.

Miami would bring the game to within one run, but senior relievers Jason Seelman (1-0, 0.74 ERA) and Ryan Davis (2-3, 2.18 ERA) would combine to hold the RedHawks scoreless for the final 2.2 innings. Davis recorded his sixth save of the year.

On Saturday, Kent State overcame a four-run deficit to win the second game of the weekend, 11-8.

In the second inning, the RedHawks scored six runs off sophomore Kyle Smith (2-2, 4.75 ERA) to take the four-run lead. After pulling to within two runs in the third inning, the Flashes broke the game open with a five-run fifth.

The inning was highlighted by senior third baseman Andrew Davis’s two-run single to left. After taking the lead, 9-6, in the fifth, Kent State would never trail.

Rohan and Gallas each had solo home runs. Junior Dominique Rodgers (2-4, 4.45 ERA) pitched three scoreless innings in relief for the win.

On Friday, Kent State dropped the series opener, 6-0, after being shutdown by Miami’s John Ely. Ely took a no-hitter into seventh inning before Gallas stroked a ball to centerfield, but the freshman was thrown out trying to turn a single into a double. Junior Evan Smith (2-4) picked up the loss after giving up four runs in seven innings.

Kent State will play Akron at 6 p.m. tomorrow at Canal Park in the first Diamond Classic for Kids.

Contact baseball reporter Tyler McIntosh at [email protected].