‘Every run mattered today’: Baseball’s winning streak reaches eight games

Jacob Shondel, Reporter

Kent State’s baseball team ranks first in batting average (.307), hits (391) and stolen bases (88) in the Mid-American Conference. 

Wednesday, inside Schoonover Stadium, the Flashes defeated Tiffin 15-12, racking up 18 hits and six stolen bases. 

 KSU (26-10, 12-3 MAC) extended its winning streak to eight games and moved to 15-1 at home. 

The Dragons fall to 11-26 on the season and lost 16 of its last 18 games. 

“I thought we played pretty well today, but you got to tip your cap to Tiffin,” coach Jeff Duncan said. “They came in and swung it really well. They were all over fastballs, and we had a tough time putting them away today.”

“Every run mattered today, and I thought we did a good job as far as the process of playing baseball.”

Junior infielder Michael McNamara led the Flashes with three RBIs, as he had his second two-home run game this season. 

“He’s been pretty steady all year long,” Duncan said. “He can hit fastballs, and he can hit breaking balls, and today he got a couple of pitches that he could handle.”

McNamara said he credits the offensive success from the weekend sweep of Akron for the performance Wednesday.

“We had a really good offensive weekend against Akron,” he said. “And we just stuck with the approach we’ve been using as our team, and it kind of just worked out today.”

This was the seventh time Kent State had scored 15 or more runs this season. 

During the contest, four more Flashes totaled three or more hits.

“That makes everything a lot easier,” senior catcher Justin Mikins said. “There’s no pressure because if you do something wrong, the next guy is gonna step up for you.”

For McNamara, seeing everyone succeed continues building trust throughout the lineup. 

“It’s awesome to see everyone just contribute in their own kind of way,” he said. “You’re able to be a little more relaxed at the plate, knowing that the person behind you has your back.”

After building a 13-4 lead in the seventh inning, the Dragons rallied for three runs in the eighth, and the score was 13-7.

In the bottom half of the inning, the Flashes added a run on a Tiffin balk and an RBI single by freshman catcher Brody Williams. 

The Dragons, however, scored five runs in the ninth inning, forcing Duncan to bring in graduate student pitcher Mitchell Scott. 

Scott entered the game with the bases loaded, recording the game’s final two outs and notching his ninth save of the season. 

Senior pitcher Richie Dell started the game for Kent State, allowing three runs on four hits over three innings. 

“He hadn’t pitched in awhile, so it was good to see him back out on the mound competing,” Duncan said. “They [Tiffin] did a good job of him; his fastball and his breaking balls were left up there for strikes.”

Dell’s last appearance was April 4, when he logged 1.2 innings against Ohio State. 

Freshman pitcher Ciaran Caughey earned his first win, striking out two batters over three innings. 

Junior infielder Aidan Longwell went 3-for-4, his fourth three-hit game in five games, and brought his MAC-leading RBI total to 54.

On the road

Kent State will now travel to Oxford, taking on Miami – the RedHawks have lost five of their last seven games. 

Kent State is 11-9 on the road this season. 

“A lot of those losses on the road, they were early in the season,” Duncan said,  “We just got to make sure we were ready to play good baseball no matter where we are playing.”

McNamara wants to see his team continue “dominating” when they take the field.

“The approach we’ve had at the plate and on the mound is something we need to keep rolling out there,” he said.

The three-game series begins Friday. 

First pitch is 5 p.m.

Jacob Shondel is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected].