Story courtesy of Kent State Sports Information
Kent State 7, Oregon 6
- Center fielder Evan Campbell (Beloit, Ohio) made what will likely go down as the biggest catch in Kent State history, sealing the Golden Flashes 7-6 Super Regional game one win over Oregon in front of a sellout crowd Saturday night at PK Park. In a game that ended at 2:15 a.m. Eastern time, the nation's longest winning streak extended to 21 games, despite Kent State pitchers allowing 11 walks.
Campbell's leaping, turn-around catch saved the tying and winning runs from crossing as the Ducks had loaded the bases in the ninth with the help of three walks in the inning.
Senior ace David Starn (Hudson, Ohio) battled through seven of those walks and got strikeouts when he needed them. The MAC Pitcher of the Year earned the win, going 6.1 innings, while redshirt freshman Josh Pierce (Avon, Ohio) claimed the save.
The Ducks, who earned the tournament's No. 5 seed, left 12 runners on base. Meanwhile, PAC-12 Pitcher of the Year Alex Keudell kept the Flashes scoreless in the first two frames and retired the first two batters in the third, before Campbell started a two-out rally.
Campbell laced a double into the right center field gap just off the glove of a diving Vernell Warren followed by an RBI single to left by Jimmy Rider (Venetia, Pa.). David Lyon (Emporium, Pa.) then caught the infield off-guard with a bunt down the third base line, forcing a hurried throw that sailed into right field and scored Rider.
A leadoff walk, a sac bunt and a balk helped give the Ducks a run in the bottom of the third without a hit.
Kent State continued to hammer away at Keudell over the next two innings. T.J. Sutton (Uniontown, Ohio) ripped a double over the right fielder's head to lead off the fourth and scored on a single to shallow center by Sawyer Polen (Wooster, Ohio).
Oregon threatened in the bottom of the fourth as Starn walked the bases loaded, before fanning Aaron Payne. The Flashes carried that momentum into the fifth, scoring two more runs. A dropped fly ball set up an RBI double to right center by Rider. A George Roberts (Summerhill, Pa.) single moved Rider to third, who scored on a deep sacrifice fly to center by Sutton.
The Ducks took advantage of another walk in the fifth as their first hit of the game led to their second run. A pair of Oregon singles in the sixth cut the lead to 5-3. A high fly ball into right field dropped right in the middle of three converging Flashes to start the bottom of the seventh, which resulted in a double and led to the Ducks' fourth run.
Casey Wilson (Sagamore Hills, Ohio) took over with one out in the seventh and retired three straight batters. Brian Clark (Munroe Falls, Ohio) later closed out the eighth.
Another double by Sutton sparked a two-run eighth. With two out and two on, Alex Miklos (Grove City, Pa.) lined a ball into right field and an Aaron Jones attempt at a shoe string catch resulted in the ball rolling to the warning track and both runners coming around to score.
A walk and a single to center, and a single through the left side, loaded the bases to start the bottom of the ninth. Pierce then came up with a huge strikeout and a sac fly to left, before walking the next two batters, making it a one-run game.
The Golden Flashes and Ducks will play game two of their best-of-three series Sunday, beginning at 10 p.m. Eastern/7 p.m. Pacific. The game can been seen on ESPNU.