Streak ends at eight as late rally falls short

Joe Murphy

Andrew Davis tags out an Oakland base runner, Bryan Marulli, at second base yesterday. The Flashes lost 7-6 in 10 innings to Oakland, ending their eight-game winning streak.

Credit: Andrew popik

The Flashes missed a golden opportunity yesterday against the Golden Grizzlies.

Kent State (27-15) battled back twice against Oakland but ended up on the short end of a 10-inning affair, losing 7-6 at Schoonover Stadium.

The Flashes had the disadvantage of a quick turnaround, as the team played a night game Tuesday at Cincinnati. Kent State coach Scott Stricklin said this left his team vulnerable to a letdown against Oakland (10-27).

“We’ve been concerned about this game since the beginning of the season,” Stricklin said. “We didn’t want to overlook Oakland. We just didn’t have a lot of energy today. They just outplayed us.”

The Grizzlies got to Kent State sophomore pitcher John Pacella in the top of the second inning, as Pacella’s control got him into trouble. A walk, a wild pitch and a hit-by-pitch led to a 2-0 lead for Oakland.

Three runs combined in the middle innings gave the Flashes their first lead of the game, 3-2. The lead lasted until the top of the eighth inning, when Oakland’s offense exploded, giving the Grizzlies four runs. Oakland’s Nate Recknagel knocked in the first run of the inning with a double to right field off sophomore pitcher Andrew Davis. Davis’ inning only got worse, as the next hitter, Ty Herriott, blasted a three-run homer over the right-center-field wall.

Down three in the bottom of the eighth, the Flashes looked to mount a rally.

Oakland tried to help them.

After catcher/first baseman Will Vazquez lead the inning with a double, catcher Todd Balduf struck out. After right fielder Eric Holick was walked, two were on with one out.

That’s when the momentum started to shift.

Second baseman Drew Saylor hit a bouncer back to Herriott, who fielded it, turned to second and threw it into right field. The play scored Vazquez and put runners on the corners. The rally was on.

Oakland 6, Kent State 4.

Center fielder Michael Obyc followed with a base hit to right, scoring Holick and leaving runners on first and second.

Oakland 6, Kent State 5.

Shortstop Emmanuel Burriss followed with a dribbler down the first-base line. Burriss hesitated, went left, went right, and then ran into Recknagel, who dropped the ball. Burriss was safe, and a run scored.

Tied game.

Burriss then attempted to steal second when he fell about halfway to the bag. Burriss was caught in a pickle. After some controversy, which led to an ejection of Oakland’s assistant coach, Burriss was out.

Both teams went scoreless in the ninth. In the top of the 10th, third baseman Greg Rohan misplayed a ball, which resulted in the go-ahead run for the Grizzlies. The Flashes managed only one hit in the bottom half of the inning, losing the game and snapping their eight-game winning streak.

“They gave us a break,” Stricklin said. “They gave us an opportunity to stay in the game.”

The Flashes now have to regroup and prepare for a four-game series this weekend against Youngstown State. The teams will play a pair of doubleheaders Saturday and Sunday.

Contact baseball reporter Joe Murphy at [email protected].