Baseball earns series sweep over UT Martin

Jacob Hansen, Sports Editor

Kent State’s baseball team clinched its fifth-straight win Sunday, tallying 31 hits and 27 runs in a three-game sweep of the University of Tennessee at Martin over the weekend.

Kent State leads the Mid-American Conference in hits (114), runs (82) and RBIs (77). The team is tied for third in the conference in team batting average at .273.

KSU is now 7-4 on the year. UT Martin is 3-9 on the year.

The Flashes totaled 28 strikeouts over the weekend. The team is first in the MAC in team ERA at 4.19 and is second in team strikeouts with 113.

Game one 

Kent State won its first game 6-0 in seven innings.

Game one of the series was scheduled for Friday but was delayed until Saturday due to a rainout.

Graduate student outfielder Collin Mathews opened the series up with a RBI double, scoring junior infielder Kyle Jackson. In the next at-bat, junior first baseman Aidan Longwell doubled home Mathews to take a 2-0 first inning lead.

In the top of the fifth with the bases loaded, Longwell drove in two more on a single, scoring senior infielder Mack Timbrook and senior outfielder Josh Mrozek. The Flashes now led 4-0.

Longwell tallied his fourth RBI of the day with an RBI groundout to second base, scoring Jackson and moving Mathews to third. In the next at-bat senior catcher Justin Miknis singled home Mathews to extend the lead to 6-0 in the seventh.

The Flashes had eight hits in the game to UT Martin’s two hits.

Redshirt senior Ben Cruikshank pitched 6.1 innings, struck out six batters and allowed no runs on just two hits.

Game two

Kent State brought the offense in game two in a 12-3 victory for its fourth-straight win.

The Flashes started off hot, scoring five runs in the second inning. Kent State had the bases loaded when sophomore infielder Connor Ashby reached on a fielder’s choice, scoring home junior infielder Michael McNamara.

Senior outfielder Josh Johnson scored after UT Martin’s junior pitcher Tristan Walton balked. In the next at-bat, Mathews cleared the bases, scoring Jackson and Ashby. Longwell picked up yet another RBI on the weekend, scoring home Mathews to make it 5-0.

The Skyhawks answered with one run in the bottom half of the second and one run in the fourth to make it 4-2 after four innings.

Kent State had the bases loaded yet again in the sixth inning. Mathews earned another RBI off a single to score sophomore outfielder Jake Casey. Ashby then scored a batter later on a passed ball to make it 7-2.

In the same at-bat, Miknis cleared the bases to score Mathews and Jackson to extend the lead 9-2 all in the sixth inning.

Jackson tacked on another run of an RBI-single in the seventh inning, scoring Johnson and extending the lead 10-2.

UT Martin scored one in the bottom half of the inning after a fielding error. Timbrook then scored two more off a single down the left field line.

Game three

Kent State won its fifth-straight game, capturing the series sweep in a 9-6 victory.

The Skyhawks answered first this time after a sacrifice flyout to right field in the first inning. The Flashes quickly responded in the second with a sacrifice flyout of their own, after Timbrook flied out to left field and scored McNamara. The game was tied 1-1.

UT Martin took the lead with an RBI-single in the third. KSU then answered back in the top of the fourth, scoring Miknis off a sacrifice fly out from Casey to tie it at two.

UTM took back the lead on a RBI-single in the fifth. The Flashes tied it up yet again in the sixth inning with an RBI-single from freshman catcher Brody Williams, scoring home Timbrook to tie the game at three.

UTM took back in the lead in the same inning 4-3 off a wild pitch. Jackson brought in Johnson on yet another sacrifice fly out to tie the game at four in the eighth.

In the top of the ninth, Johnson reached on a throwing, scoring home Longwell to take the first lead of the game for the Flashes 5-4. A bases-loaded walk two batters later extended the lead for KSU 6-4.

With one out and one runner on, down to UTM’s last two outs, redshirt senior Jack Culumovic hit a two-run homer to left field to tie the game at 6-6.

The game then went to extra innings. With two on and two out in the inning, Timbrook played hero with a three-run homer to right center field, scoring Longwell and Miknis taking a 9-6 lead.

Graduate student pitcher Mitchell Scott shut down the Skyhawks in the bottom of the 10th inning to secure the victory.

The Flashes totaled 11 hits in the game, while UT Martin had 10. Both teams had 10 strikeouts in the game.

Kent State plays Youngstown State in its home opener at 3 p.m. Tuesday at Olga Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium.

Jacob Hansen is sports editor. Contact him at [email protected]