Late surge not enough to knock off Flashes

Matt Gottfried

Cleveland State scored nine runs in the final four innings of yesterday’s non-conference contest against Kent State, but the Flashes managed to hold on for a narrow 12-10 victory.

Freshman Alan Morrison continued to pitch well with yet another strong pitching performance in his first year with the Flashes (25-13), as he picked up his fourth victory of the season. In five innings of work, he held the Vikings (7-27) to just one run on five hits to lower his ERA to 2.78.

But the Flashes’ bullpen offered little relief.

After scoring three runs in the first inning and one in each of the next three, Kent State had accumulated a 7-1 lead through six innings of play. But that’s when Cleveland State’s bats went to work.

The Vikings roughed up the Flashes’ bullpen for four runs in the sixth, then added five more in the next three innings. In just four innings of work, they accounted for 15 hits and nine runs. Cleveland State finished the game with a 19-17 advantage in hits, but the rough start proved costly in the non-conference loss as junior Ryan Davis entered the final inning to shutdown the hot bats and preserve his ninth save of the season.

Davis’ nine saves leads the Mid-American Conference, but he isn’t the only player on the pitching staff making some noise. Earlier this week, senior Chad Wagler was named the MAC East Division’s Pitcher of the Week. He has gone 6-3 this season with a 3.63 ERA and a team-high 43 strikeouts.

Senior center fielder Joe Tucker led all hitters in yesterday’s contest with an impressive 5-for-6 performance from the plate, driving in three runs and scoring four times. He also lined his second home run of the season and smacked two doubles while hitting No. 2 in the lineup.

It was the Flashes’ top of the lineup for what proved to be the difference in the game, as senior leadoff hitter Emmanuel Burriss combined with Tucker and senior Drew Saylor for 11 of the team’s 17 hits. Burriss went 3-for-6 on the afternoon with a home run, while Saylor also recorded three hits in driving home three runs.

Junior Andrew Davis and freshman Jared Humphreys both smashed a pair of singles to help the Flashes complete the series sweep. They defeated the Vikings earlier this season 13-1 March 28.

Kent State will next be in action today when it hosts Wooster. The game is set to begin at 4 p.m. at Schoonover Stadium.

Contact baseball reporter Matt Gottfried at [email protected]