MAC Tournament Central
MAC Tournament Bracket
Kent State 5, Eastern Michigan 4
MAC Tournament - Game Seven
WP - Hallock (10-4)
LP - Combs (1-2)
CHILLICOTHE, Ohio - After facing each other three times in last year's MAC Tournament, Kent State and Eastern Michigan renewed pleasantries in tonight's winner's bracket contest at VA Memorial Stadium.
Both teams came out attacking early. After Evan Campbell earned a lead-off walk for the Golden Flashes in the top of the first, he stole second on a Jimmy Rider strikeout to get in scoring position and was then cashed in by a Travis Shaw single up the middle to stake Kent State to an early 1-0 lead.
Facing off against MAC Pitcher of the Year Kyle Hallock, Eastern Michigan was able to respond quickly when Brent Ohrman hustled a single into a double thanks in part to a lackadaisical throw in from the outfield. Zack Leonard, EMU's all-time hits leader, banged a single past the pitcher's mound to drive in Ohrman from second and knot the game at 1-1 after the first inning.
The Eagles continued to aggressively go after Hallock in the bottom of the second. Though he struck out the first two batters of the inning, Lee Longo, batting out of the eight-spot, smashed a solo shot out to left field that cleared a lowered portion of the fence to put his team up 2-1.
The score remained the same into the fifth inning when Derek Toadvine sparked a rally from the bottom of the order by beating out a routine ground ball to second base. After stealing his 15th base of the season, a shallow Rider single moved him to third and a four-pitch walk to Shaw loaded the bases with just one out. Suddenly dealing with control issues, Battistelli allowed another four-pitch pass, this time to Ben Klafczynski, to lock things up at 2-2.
Longo struck again in the bottom half of the fifth, again a solo home run to left that matched his home run output from the whole season. Matt Hitt followed with a walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch as Hallock struggled to find his location. A sac fly moved Hitt to third before Hallock unleashed a wild pitch on ball four to Ohrman, allowing Hitt to break for home and score, taking a 4-2 edge into the sixth inning.
Kent State had two on and one out in the sixth when the ominous-looking skies finally opened and forced a weather delay of nearly two hours, scattering the teams to their dugouts and forcing a pitching change from each squad. When the game came back, Kent State walked to load the bases and tied the score at 4-4 off a left field double from Rider. Shaw followed with his second RBI of the game on a sac fly to deep center that brought in lead-off man Campbell for a 5-4 Kent State lead.
With Hallock out of the contest, Casey Wilson entered the game trying to preserve the Golden Flashes one-run margin. Retiring the first two batters he faced, Wilson walked Sam Ott with two outs in the bottom of the sixth then sat down the final ten batters Eastern Michigan sent to the plate, eliminating any hopes of an Eagles rally.
Kent State (41-14) is now 2-0 in the 2011 MAC Baseball Tournament and will await the winner of tomorrow's 9 a.m. game between Eastern Michigan and Northern Illinois to find out its next opponent. Eastern Michigan (35-21) defeated Northern Illinois 4-2 in yesterday's first contest.
Top of the 1st
Travis Shaw singled up the middle, Evan Campbell scored from second
1-0 Kent State
Bottom of the 1st
Zack Leonard singled up the middle, Brent Ohrman scored from second
Bottom of the 2nd
Lee Longo homered to left field
2-1 Eastern Michigan
Top of the 5th
Ben Klafczynski walked, Derek Toadvine scored from third, Jimmy Rider advanced to third, Shaw advanced to second
Bottom of the 5th
Longo homered to left field
3-2 Eastern Michigan
Ohrman walked, wild pitch scored Matt Hitt from third
4-2 Eastern Michigan
Top of the 6th
Rider doubled to left field, Joe Koch scored from third, Toadvine scored from second, Campbell advanced to third
Shaw sacrificed to center field, Campbell scored from third
Kent State 5-4