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Kent State 6, Akron 1
AKRON, Ohio – In front of a record-setting crowd, the Kent State baseball team beat Akron, 6-1, Thursday (May 17) at Canal Park in the Sixth Annual Diamond Classic For Kids to open a three-game Mid-American Conference weekend between the East Division rivals.
With the triumph over the Zips (17-36, 10-15 MAC), the 2012 MAC champion Golden Flashes (35-17, 22-3 MAC) have won 26 of their last 33 games – including 15 of their last 17 and 11 in a row. Kent State has won 35 games for the 17th time in program history – including for the sixth time under eighth-year head coach Scott Stricklin and fifth season in a row. Kent State's 22 conference victories are the most since former head coach Danny Hall's 1993 squad achieved the feat.
"We're playing good baseball right now," said Stricklin. "We're playing good defense, our pitching has been outstanding and we're getting clutch hits. We took advantage of their mistakes, and that's what good teams do. We're trying to focus on playing good baseball and keeping our momentum."
The Golden Flashes improved to 4-2 in the Diamond Classic, posting their third straight win in the annual event that benefits Akron Children's Hospital in front of a record-breaking crowd 1,310.
"It was a great night for Akron Children's Hospital," said Stricklin. "The people at the hospital did a great job of promoting this event, and it's a good rivalry game between two good teams."
Senior southpaw ace David Starn (Hudson, Ohio) dominated on the mound to improve to 8-3 on the season and 26-7 for his career, which ties him with Pat Bangston (1984-87) for the most pitching wins in program history. He fanned nine over six innings while giving up just one earned run on three hits and two walks. Kent State's career strikeouts leader, Starn improved his career strikeout total to 324.
Akron struck first with a run in the top of the third inning, but the damage could have been worse, as Starn worked out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam. Sophomore right fielder Darius Washington hit a leadoff double to right center for the Zips, then advanced to third on a base hit to left by junior center fielder Jared Turocy. Sophomore second baseman Tyler Begun filled the bases for Akron by drawing a walk. Freshman shortstop Matt Rembielak bumped Washington home one out later by coaxing a walk. That's all the Zips got out of it, though, as Starn forced senior third baseman Sam Watkins to fly out to left and struck out sophomore catcher Brady Stewart.
"David lost his focus there for a little bit and had a couple walks, which is uncharacteristic of him," said Stricklin. "What is characteristic of him is fighting back and getting out of jams. To get out of there with holding them to one run was important."
Akron's lead was short lived as Kent State fired back with two runs in the home half of the third. Junior center fielder Evan Campbell (Beloit, Ohio) drew a one-out walk, and senior catcher David Lyon (Emporium, Pa.) joined him on the base paths when he reached on a fielding error by Rembielak one out later. That set the table for junior first baseman George Roberts (Summerhill, Pa.) to send a two-RBI double down the right field line and give Kent State the lead.
Starn settled in over the next three frames and only allowed one more base runner to advance past first.
Kent State extended its lead to 3-1 in the bottom of the sixth as freshman left fielder Alex Miklos (Grove City, Pa.) hit a one-out single through the left side, stole second and scored one out later on a base hit to left by senior shortstop and MAC all-time hits king Jimmy Rider (Venetia, Pa.).
The Flashes tacked on their fourth run in the seventh when redshirt junior third baseman Nick Hamilton (Avon Lake, Ohio) cracked a one-out base hit to left, scampered to third on a wild pitch and crossed home plate courtesy of a single to center by sophomore right fielder T.J. Sutton (Uniontown, Ohio).
Kent State took advantage of two more Akron errors in the eighth inning to seal the victory. Sophomore second baseman Derek Toadvine (Springfield, Ohio) beat out an infield single, then headed for second on a throwing error by Watkins. Toadvine stole third one out later, then scored on a fielder's choice that put Rider on. Rider moved to second on the play on a fielding error by Stewart. Roberts made it 6-1 one out later by driving in Rider with a single back up the middle.
Senior right-handed pitcher Ryan Mace (Tallmadge, Ohio) tossed three scoreless innings in relief of Starn and earned his fourth save of the season.
Senior right-handed starting pitcher Andrew Brown was tagged with the pitching defeat for Akron, falling to 6-8 on the season. He surrendered three runs – one earned – on five hits and six walks. Brown struck out four in 5.2 innings of work.
Kent State takes aim at its fifth straight MAC series win and eighth of season to close out the 2012 campaign as it hosts Akron Friday (May 18) at 3 p.m. at Olga A. Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium. Junior right-handed starting pitcher Ryan Bores (Strongsville, Ohio) will start on the hill for the Golden Flashes and is scheduled to oppose Akron freshman left-handed starter Pat Dyer.
Ball State 11, Northern Illinois 10 (10 innings)
DeKALB, Ill. – Northern Illinois and Ball State went into extra innings Thursday afternoon with Mid-American Conference Tournament implications on the line. BSU scored one run in the top of the tenth to defeat the Huskies, 11-10 in 10 innings. Freshman Ben Neumann (Verona, Wis.) pitched 5.1 relief innings on the mound, surrendering three hits, zero walks and striking out a career-high nine batters.
“Ben had a great outing for us today, they got to Rock (Taylor Nawrocki) early and we had to make a change,” said Head Coach Ed Mathey. “I was hoping to get an inning or two out of Ben, because we haven’t really stretched him much and he just kept getting outs. We had a chance to close it out today in the ninth but we got a couple of bad bounces. We did a good job of battling back but we have to give credit to Ball State, they played a heck of a game.”
Ball State scored four runs in the top of the first on a grand slam by pitch T.J. Weir and scored another three runs in the top of the second to give the Cardinals a 7-0 lead early in the game. The Huskies bounced back with one in the bottom of the second and added two in the bottom of the third on a bases loaded fielder’s choice by Brett Frantini (Minooka, Ill.) and a single by Connor Schomig (Darien, Ill./Hinsdale South) to bring NIU to within four, 7-3.
With Neumann dealing strikes and delivering outs from the mound, the Huskies were able to go on the offensive in the bottom of the sixth to tie it up, 7-7. Alex Jones (Kansas City, Kan./Piper) doubled to score Schomig from third and advance Alex Beckmann (Batavia, Ill.) into scoring position. Troy White (Chicago/Whitney Young) tripled to drive in both runners and scored on the next at-bat when Alex Klonowski (Kearney, Mo.) hit a sacrifice fly to left field.
The Huskies took an 8-7 lead in the seventh on Chris Divarco’s (Long Grove, Ill./Carmel Catholic) solo homerun, the first of his career, over the left centerfield fence. NIU held the Cardinals at bay until the top of the ninth, when they rattled off five hits and scored three runs to recapture the lead, 10-8.
Jordan Huffman (Sergaent Bluff, Iowa) leadoff the ninth with a single and Divarco delivered again, this time with a single to advance Huffman to second. Kevin Sweeney (Chicago/Fenwick) pinch ran for Divarco and advanced 90 feet twice with Huffman on a pair of passed balls to bring the score to 10-9. With the bases loaded after Frantini was hit by a pitch, Jamison Wells (Combined Locks, Wis./Kimberly) drove in Sweeney on a fielder’s choice to tie the game, 10-10.
BSU captured the final lead of the game when Sean Godfrey singled to left field to score Kevin Franchetti. The Huskies went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the 10th and fell, 11-10. Neumann hurled career-highs in innings pitched (5.1) and strikeouts (nine). White finished 3-for-6 with a triple, two RBI and two runs.
The Huskies (15-38, 7-18 MAC) and the Cardinals (12-36, 7-18 MAC) will continue the series tomorrow afternoon at Ralph McKinzie Field, with first pitch taking place at 3:05 p.m. With the loss, NIU was eliminated from MAC Tournament contention.
Buffalo 14, Bowling Green 0
BUFFALO, NY - In his last regular season start as a UB Bull, Cameron Copping made sure it would be memorable. The senior threw a complete game seven-hitter and was buoyed by 14 runs by the offense as Buffalo (17-33, 9-15 MAC) thrashed Bowling Green (19-32, 8-17 MAC) Thursday afternoon, 14-0. The win eliminated the Falcons from postseason contention and kept Buffalo's slim hopes very much alive.
The Temple City, CA native's 13th start was a lucky one for Buffalo, and with that start he moved into a tie with six other former UB pitchers for the most starts in a single season in team history. Copping also struck out four batters to move into third place on the season record list with 75 this season, and his team-high 90.2 total innings are now the second most for a single season in program history.
Helping him along to such a momentous day was three double plays turned by the Bulls, coming in the first, second, and eighth innings. To cap it all off, Copping did not allow a single walk, a welcome relief to the team after it had allowed 10 to St. Bonaventure in a loss on Tuesday.
The offense was more than ready to support its senior as well, with five different players recording two or more hits and five driving in multiple RBI. Dan Scahill was the highlight among many on Thursday, driving in four runs on two doubles. In the second inning, the senior right fielder brought home Jason Kanzler and Jon Mestas. In the very next inning, he plated Kanzler and Matt Pollock to cap an inning where the team pushed across five runs and led 9-0. Now with 19 doubles this season, Scahill ranks third on the program's single season list.
In the fifth inning, the Bulls loaded up the bases with no outs, and Thomas Richards kicked off the scoring again with a five-pitch walk that scored Kanzler. Alex Baldock then doubled down the left field line to bring in two more UB baserunners, and Mike Burke capped the scoring with a two-run single that brought in Richards and Baldock.
Baldock went 2-3 with a pair of walks, while Burke had a team-high four hits. Reigning MAC East player of the week Kanzler added three more hits and had four runs scored. Tom Murphy had two doubles, two RBI and a walk.
The team will now sit back and root for a pair of teams it would normally call its rival. Akron and Miami are currently playing on the road at Kent State and Ohio, respectively. Losses by the Zips and Redhawks today will get UB just one step closer to its first ever appearance in the Mid-American Conference tournament.
Buffalo will lean on another senior tomorrow, with Jeff Thompson getting the ball in another must-win situation. Friday's first pitch is scheduled for 1 pm.
Toledo 4, Eastern Michigan 3 (12 innings)
TOLEDO, OH - Freshman RF Dan Zuchowski's two-run single in the 12th frame propelled Mid-American Conference West Division frontrunner Toledo to a 4-3 triumph against Eastern Michigan on Thursday at Scott Park. With the extra-inning victory, the Rockets maintain their one-game lead in the division and improve to 28-25 overall, 17-8 in the league.
In the third extra inning, the first three UT batters reached base on EMU errors to bring Zuchowski to the plate with a chance to be the hero. The Hamtramck, MI did not disppoint and turned a low offering from the Eagles' (24-27, 14-11 MAC) Paul Schaak, lacing a two-run single through the right side to send the Rockets' bench into a frenzy.
Junior RHP Cody Umbright (1-0), the fourth Toledo hurler of the afternoon, was credited with his first victory of the spring. Umbright retired the only batter he faced in the top of the 12th inning to help the Midnight Blue & Gold get out a second- and third-base jam with two outs.
Sophomore LHP Ryan Wilkinson (7-3) drew the start in today's series opener and was solid, allowing two runs on seven hits with four strikeouts in 6.0 innings in a no-decision.
Senior RHP Tyler Scott and senior RHP Lincoln Rassi also toed the rubber against a talented EMU squad, limiting them to one unearned run on two hits with four punchouts in 5.2 relief frames.
Offensively, the Rockets were limited to five hits with no player collecting a multi-hit effort against four Eastern Michigan hurlers.
UT struck first on a RBI single off the bat of senior CF Ben Hammer (1-for-2, RBI, 3 BB) in the third inning. With one out in the frame, junior 3B Wes White (0-for-4, RS) drew a walk to give the Rockets their first baserunner of the contest. Following another free pass and a ground out, Hammer delivered a seeing-eye single through the right side to lift the home team the early advantage.
Toledo's lead did not last long though, as EMU evened the score at 1-1 in the fourth frame on a two-out, solo home run by Matt Hitt.
The Eagles then captured their first lead of the contest on a RBI single by Lee Longo in the sixth inning. EMU pounded out three hits and drew an intentional walk from Wilkinson to grab the advantage. The damage could have been a lot worse for the Rockets, though, but freshman LF Anthony Smith gunned down a runner at the plate to limit the visitors to one run.
Eastern Michigan threatened to add an insurance tally in the top of the ninth inning and put a runner on third base with two outs. Fortunately for Toledo, reliever Scott forced a foul ball out to keep it a one-run difference.
The Rockets fed off that momentum and forced extra frames as Smith was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to bring home the game-tying run against EMU's Jordan Glover in the bottom of the ninth. UT knotted the score despite not collecting a hit in the frame, utilizing a pair of walks & two hit by pitches. The home team also had two golden opportunities to win the game later in the inning as they still had the bases juiced with only one out, but Glover recorded two quick outs to prolong the contest.
In the first extra inning, Toledo put a runner on second base with second outs, before the Eagles' Ben Dartnell recorded a strikeout to extend the series opener into the 11th.
Following an uneventful 11th frame, EMU retook the lead in the top of of 12th frame on a sacrfice fly off the bat of Tucker Rubino against UT's Rassi, before the MAC West Division leaders responded with a pair of tallies to clinch the first game in the weekend series.
Dartnell (1-1) was tagged with the setback, yielding two unearned runs on just one hit with two walks and two strikeouts in 2.0 innings of relief.
The visitors also received an outstanding starting pitching effort from RHP Neil Butara, who gave up one run on three hits with five punchouts in 7.0 frames in a no-decision.
Brent Ohrman (2-for-5) and Longo (2-for-4, RBI) paced the Eastern Michigan offense with a game-high two hits each.
The Rockets and Eagles will continue their three-game set tomorrow with a 3:05 p.m. from the corner of Parkside Blvd. and Hill Ave. Senior RHP Matt Kuna (6-1, 2.78 ERA, 64.2 IP, 58 H, 25 R, 20 ER, 14 BB, 44 K) is slated to start for UT, while EMU will send RHP Steve Weber (7-3, 5.42 ERA, 79.2 IP, 101 H, 57 R, 48 ER, 20 BB, 53 K) to the hill.
Miami 5, Ohio 2
ATHENS,Ohio - The Ohio University Baseball team (27-26,15-10) had its four-game winning streak snapped Thursday evening at Bob Wren Stadium, falling to Miami 5-2.
Senior Brent Choban (Rittman,Ohio) took the loss falling to 7-5 on the year. Choban gave up eight runs on five hits while striking out five in 6.2 innings of work. The right hander has pitched more than 6.0 innings in every appearance this season.
Sophomore Shane Henkel (Irwin,Pa.) came in for a short stint of relief while junior Tyler Backstrom (Columbus,Ohio) pitched the final two innings giving up one hit and striking out three.
Miami's Shawn Marquardt got the win for his sixth victory of the season giving up two runs on seven hits. Joe Neff came in for two innings of relief and Matt Rosinski came in to get his sixth save of the season.
Offensively, Ohio outhit Miami 10-9. Freshman Tyler Wells (Lexington,Ky.),senior Jensen Painter (Willshire, Ohio),and sophomore Scott White (Springboro,Ohio) each had two hits while junior Dan Schmidt (Kamiak,Wash.) and freshman Ian Mezlak (Lorain,Ohio) each chipped in with RBI sac-flys.
Ohio got on the board first in the bottom of the second as freshman Cody Gaertner (Allison Park,Pa) scored from third off a sac-fly by freshman Ian Mezlak (Lorain,Ohio).
Miami answered in the top of the third scoring two runs to take the lead. In the bottom half of the frame, the Bobcats tied the game at two apiece after Wells came into score from third following another sac-fly this one coming off the bat of Schmidt.
After two scoreless innings in the fourth and fifth, Miami put three runs on the board to retake the lead 5-2.
The 'Cats threatened in the sixth by loading the bases loaded but couldn't convert.
Ohio returns to action tomorrow evening at 6 p.m. Senior right-hander Jason Moulton will take the mound. In six home starts this season, Moulton has an ERA of 1.86.
Central Michigan 11, Western Michigan 2
MOUNT PLEASANT - Central Michigan scored all 11 of its runs with two outs Thursday afternoon, taking game one of its series versus rival Western Michigan, 11-2.
The Chippewas (29-26, 16-9 MAC) remain one game back of MAC West Division leader Toledo, who defeated Eastern Michigan, 4-3, in 12 innings.
Senior Nate Theunissen continued to move up the record books and put the Chippewas in front in the first inning, hitting a two-run blast to right that scored junior Jordan Dean. The home run was Theunissen's 26th career bomb, moving him into a tie for 10th most in program history. He singled later in the game, moving into sole possession of second place with 258 career hits.
The Broncos cut the deficit in half, 2-1, as Ryan McMillin drew a lead off walk, advanced to second on a failed pick off attempt by senior Zach Cooper, took third on a passed ball and scored on a ground out. Another RBI groundout one inning later tied the game, 2-2.
Back-to-back singles by Dean and senior William Arnold started a two-out rally in the bottom of the third for the Chippewas, before a walk to Theunissen loaded the bases. Senior Sam Russell promptly drove a 2-2 pitch to left field for a two-RBI single and junior Jordan Adams followed with a single to right to give CMU a 5-2 lead.
Cooper worked around back-to-back singles by the Broncos in the top of the fourth before retiring 11-straight batters to protect the lead, while Adams hit a ball off the wall in center in the fifth to score Arnold and push the CMU lead to five, 6-1.
Senior Eric Wrozek hit a home run in his second consecutive game in the seventh, drilling a two-run shot to right to make the score 8-2.
The Chippewas were able to put the nail in the coffin in the eighth thanks to three WMU miscues as Adams was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, Arnold scored on a Western error and Theunissen scored on a wild pitch.
Cooper earned his seventh win of league play by giving up just two runs - one earned - on five hits and a walk.
Adams finished 2-for-4 with three RBI, while Arnold went 2-for-4 with four runs scored. Theunissen and Dean also went 2-for-4.
The Maroon and Gold will look for their 10th consecutive win in league play tomorrow at 3:05. Nine student-athletes will be recognized as a part of senior day, which will begin at approximately 15 minutes prior to first pitch.