Baseball’s bats still struggling

Kurt Snyder

Shortstop Emmanuel Burriss takes a swing during Saturday’s loss to Akron. Burriss has appeared in several spots in the Flashes’ batting order recently in an attempt to shake up their offensive struggles.

Credit: Kurt Snyder

Sophomore shortstop Emmanuel Burriss led off for the Kent State baseball team for three straight games after he had four hits and three stolen bases in Tuesday’s win over Wright State.

The move with Burriss, who was back hitting ninth yesterday, is just the latest small lineup tweak Kent State coach Scott Stricklin has consistently done to jump-start the Flashes’ offense. The Flashes scored just two runs in two games against Akron before breaking through in a 7-2 win yesterday.

“It just gives him one more at-bat per game,” Stricklin said of Burriss. “He can create a lot of excitement on the bases. I just want him to get on the bases and do everything he can to set up for the 3-4-5 guys.”

Creating excitement is something senior left fielder Chuck Moore tried to do Saturday in the ninth inning with a deep drive down the left-field line. But Akron left fielder Doug McNulty made a running catch near the wall, and the Flashes went silently in the 2-0 loss.

Beyond Moore’s drive, the Flashes best two threats materialized Saturday because of walks. Junior catcher Todd Balduf pinch hit with two runners on base in the eighth inning, but his line drive was right in the tracks of McNulty.

The offensive offense has contributed to three straight Flashes losses on Fridays. The Flashes are in a 4-6 hole in the Mid-American Conference.

The Flashes battled inconsistency last season, but the offense was sparked by seniors Chad Kinyon and Matt Sega in a late-season run to result in a MAC Tournament Championship.

The Flashes now need a new spark. Maybe it will be Burriss’ speed or Moore. His drive to center field yesterday slammed off the wall and led to a four runs.

“It picks everyone up,” Moore said of his hit. “If someone starts doing good, it builds on that. It’s kind of like a waterfall.”

Contact managing editor Kurt Snyder at [email protected].