KSU baseball scores 32 runs, wins three straight at tourney

Amanda Vasil

The Kent State baseball team scored 15 runs in the first four innings to lead it to a 17-3 victory over Belmont University yesterday at the Music City Challenge in Nashville, Tenn.

The Flashes (3-3) and Kansas went 3-0 in the tournament, which also included Belmont, Vanderbilt, Lipscomb and Pittsburgh.

Kent State grabbed seven hits in the first inning, highlighted by a three-run home run from left fielder Kurt Eichorn. Kent State’s first five batters earned hits to start the game, while also sending 10 hitters to the plate.

Second baseman Drew Saylor opened the second inning with a solo home run, recording the first of three runs that inning. Following Saylor and putting the Flashes at 10-0 in the third, senior center fielder Joe Tucker hit a three-run home run.

Big hits continued for Kent State in the fourth as Eichorn hit his second three-run homer of the game. Belmont (2-4) put its first run on the board in the fifth inning and added its final two in the seventh and eighth innings.

Senior right-hander Evan Smith nabbed his first victory in his second start of the season, allowing just one run on four hits in five innings while striking out three. Junior Ryan Davis allowed a run and struck out one in his two innings of relief, while junior Jason Seelman threw a scoreless ninth inning.

In Friday’s game against Lipscomb, the Flashes defeated the Bisons 13-2 with 14 hits and a pair of three-run homers.

To put the Flashes on the board in the opening inning, Emmanuel Burriss hit a bunt single and stole a base.

Junior John Pacella threw three perfect innings of relief in his first appearance of the season.

“It was great to see J.J. (Pacella) back,” Kent State coach Scott Stricklin said in press release. “He hadn’t pitched since his injury last year and was very impressive today.”

With continuing momentum the next day against Vanderbilt, the Flashes slid past the Commodores, 2-1, with runs in the eighth and ninth innings.

Burriss was hit by a pitch on a bunt attempt and stole second and third with two outs in the top of the ninth. Tucker followed Burriss with a double, his fourth hit of the game, to send Burriss in for the winning run.

Tucker finished 4-of-5 with a RBI double, while Burriss grabbed a pair of hits and stole three bases, putting him 5-for-5 on the base path this season.

The Flashes will continue their road travels this weekend at Rock Hill, S.C. to compete in a three-game series at Winthrop. The Eagles (9-2) are ranked No. 26 in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper poll.

Contact assistant sports editor Amanda Vasil at [email protected].