Kent State Road To Omaha Blog: College World Series Edition

Updated 6/13/2012
MAC Director of Communications Jeremy Guy is off to Omaha, Neb. with the Kent State baseball team as the Golden Flashes travel to their first ever College World Series! Follow this blog for a behind-the-scenes look at Kent State as they look to win the National Championship. You can also follow Jeremy on Twitter at @JGuyMAC for all of the latest updates.

Check out ALL of my College World Series by clicking below (links skip to selected date):

-- Wednesday, June 13 Blog Post
-- Thursday, June 14 Blog Post
-- Friday, June 15 Blog Post
-- Saturday, June 16 Blog Post
-- Sunday, June 17 Blog Post
-- Monday, June 18 Blog Post
-- Tuesday, June 19 Blog Post
-- Wednesday, June 20 Blog Post
-- Thursday, June 21 Blog Post

Wednesday, June 13

Omaha.

I don't think any of us can put into words what this means for the Kent State Golden Flashes or Mid-American Conference. This is uncharted territory since the modern day format of the College World Series. The last team to reach the College World Series from the Mid-American Conference was Eastern Michigan in 1976. However on Monday, when Jimmy Rider connected on a pitch in the bottom of the ninth inning to score Derek Toadvine, dreams became reality. I think I could watch this clip over and over again (and I have). By the way, how great is Ty Linder's call (of Kent State Sports Network) of the play? Classic. 



This is a big deal. Wait, let me take that back. This is a HUGE deal. So big  of a deal that Kent State alum and Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Cribbs purchased 53 tickets, a bus and arranged hotel accommodations for Kent State fans that want to go to Omaha and cheer on the Golden Flashes. Playing in the College World Series is something every young baseball player dreams about and when this group of Golden Flashes takes the field on Saturday it will be something special.

After Monday's win over Oregon you could tell that Kent State Head Coach Scott Stricklin really had no words to express how much this really means. 



And so it begins. The Golden Flashes are now in Omaha and will be fielding media requests, attending autograph sessions and will be taking in and soaking up all that this great event has to offer. Of course, all that being said there is still a lot of work to do in preparation for Saturday when the the Golden Flashes make school history and take the field against Arkansas (5 p.m. ET). For more information visit Kent State CWS Tournament Central

If you are looking for some great articles regarding this magical Kent State run I'd suggest the following:

Cleveland Plain Dealer: Kent State's 2012 NCAA baseball journey nothing short of a rollercoaster ride to the College World Series

Cleveland Plain Dealer: Kent State and coach Scott Stricklin just starting to let the joy of Omaha sink in

Cleveland Plain Dealer: Baseball tournament run raises profile of Kent State athletic program 

Columbus Dispatch: Kent State on top of the world in CWS 

Ohio.com: Flashes still in state of disbelief as they head to College World Series

Recordpub.com: Kent State baseball team begins work in Omaha immediately 

Fox Sports Ohio: Move over, Southerners. Cinderella has arrived

Fox Sports Ohio: Cribbs following Flashes to Omaha

AP (via ESPN.com): Josh Cribbs rents bus for Kent State Fans

ESPN.com: College World Series field is set

NCAA.com: Previewing the 2012 CWS field: Breaking down the eight squads heading to Omaha


Thursday, June 14

I have to admit. It's frustrating that I am not in Omaha yet with the Kent State Golden Flashes baseball team. By just following @FlashesBaseball on Twitter I can just feel the excitement surrounding the event. The anticipation is killing me. After all, this is my first College World Series as well. Tomorrow morning can't come soon enough... 

Today started with the College World Series press conferences as each of the head coaches fielded questions from the media. My favorite line from Kent State Head Coach Scott Stricklin: 

"People will enjoy watching us play. We're just a bunch of dirt bags - kid's that play the game hard. We have a couple of guys that look like bat boys instead of three-hole hitters, but they play the game. People will enjoy that."

I thought it was the perfect way to describe this team. They are a scrappy bunch who just love to play the game. You can tell when they are out there on the field. Not only do they play hard, they also look like they are having fun while doing it. 

The Golden Flashes also took the field for practice at TD Ameritrade Park for the first time this afternoon. From the photo's I have seen it's a very nice park and I can't wait to see it in person. Also, the Golden Flashes participated in an autograph session and well. You can just see for yourself what the turnout was for that. Talk about amazing!!! 

By the way, Kent State Athletics announced this afternoon that the team's allotment of 700 tickets for Kent State baseball's first game of the 2012 NCAA College World Series vs. Arkansas are SOLD OUT. Limited tickets remain for Kent State's Monday game, with opponent and game time to be determined with the Golden Flashes' result on Saturday.

Also of note, Kent State's pregame tailgate at The Old Mattress Factory Bar and Grill in Omaha has also reached its capacity of 350 people.

Tonight the Golden Flashes will take part in the College World Series Opening Ceremonies. If you are already in Omaha you should check it out. A BBQ, appearance by Nomar Garciaparra, introduction of all the teams and a fireworks finale are all a part of tonight's festivities. 

Next time I write something, I will be in Omaha. I can't wait...

Friday, June 15
Hello Omaha! Officially here at the site of the College World Series and I honestly couldn't be more excited. Had a few Kent State fans on my plane along with local media -- all ready to see and cover the Golden Flashes in the CWS. 

As soon as I got off the plane I was taken to the team hotel and waited for the team to get back so I could take care of some interviews. The Golden Flashes had a busy morning of checking out Rosenblatt Stadium as well as taking in some indoor batting practice. Rosenblatt was the home of the College World Series from 1950-2010 and is about to be demolished later this year. Hopefully I get over there at some point this weekend to see it for myself. 

I was able to catch up with Kent State's Evan Campbell, David Lyon and T.J. Sutton. Here's what they had to say about their experience in Omaha so far and about the anticipation of tomorrow's game. Here's what they had to say...










The College World Series games have started at TD Ameritrade Park and you can feel the energy in downtown Omaha. As for me, I'm going to end the night by having a nice Omaha Steak at Omaha Prime. After all, you can't come to Omaha not have a big juicy steak!!

See you all tomorrow for GAMEDAY!

Saturday, June 16

Today's Game Information
Kent State (46-18) v. Arkansas (44-20) 
Saturday, June 16th • (4 p.m. CST/ 5 p.m. EST)
College World Series Bracket #2 Opening Game (TD Ameritrade Park • Omaha, Neb.)

TV: ESPN/ESPN HD (Karl Ravech, Kyle Peterson, Jenn Brown)
Webcast: Watch LIVE via ESPN3 (Also available on Watch ESPN App)
Audio: Kent State Sports Network
Twitter: Follow @JGuyMAC & @FlashesBaseball for all of the latest from the CWS
Livestats

Probable Pitchers
Kent State: #37 David Starn (Sr., LHP, Hudson, Ohio) 11-3, 2.21 ERA, 123 SO, 45 BB, 17 GS, 114.0 IP
Arkansas: #24 DJ Baxendale (Jr., RHP, Jacksonville, Ark.) 7-5, 3.18 ERA, 89 SO, 23 BB, 18 GS, 96.1 IP


It's time to make some history.

Today at 5 p.m. EST (4 p.m. CST) is when dreams become reality for the Kent State Golden Flashes baseball team. The Flashes are currently ranked No. 8 in the latest Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Poll, have won a school record 46 games, have won a Regional Title, Super Regional Title and will be appearing in their first ever College World Series today. 

The Golden Flashes are the fourth MAC team to play in the College World Series. Western Michigan made six appearances from 1952-1963 and finished as runner-up in 1955. Ohio made one appearance in 1970, and Eastern Michigan made trips to Omaha in 1975 and 1976, when they finished second.

Kent State and Arkansas are paired in the same bracket as No. 1 Florida (47-18) and No. 2 South Carolina (45-17). Florida and South Carolina will square off Saturday at 9 p.m. ET (8 p.m. CT). The winners of the two Bracket 2 games will meet Monday (June 18) at 9 p.m. ET (8 p.m. CT) while the losers will play an elimination game at 5 p.m. ET (4 p.m. CT).

I was also able to catch up with some of the fans from the Kent State "Flash Mob" today. This group of fans hopped on a bus, stayed overnight and is now here in Omaha all because of Kent State alum & current member of the Cleveland Browns Josh Cribbs. Here's what they had to say about their experience!



Sunday, June 17
Down but not out.

Kent State is one game from elimination but until you lose two you are still playing baseball here at the College World Series.

The No. 8 Golden Flashes fell to No. 6 Arkansas Razorbacks, 8-1, Saturday in the opening game of Bracket 2 of the 2012 NCAA College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park. Kent State will now take on No. 1 Florida an an elimination game Monday night ( 5 p.m. ET, ESPN2). I caught up with the team at practice and everyone still seems focused and not just happy to be here. The team continues to work hard and they would love nothing more than to shock the world and take down the Gators tomorrow night.

Here's what Kent State Head Coach Scott Stricklin, tomorrow's starting pitcher Ryan Bores and teammate Alex Miklos had to say about the CWS experience so far and about tomorrow's game. 








As far as the experience yesterday, all I can do is say -- WOW. TD Ameritrade Park is a beautiful facility inside and out and a wonderful place to watch a baseball game. I'm glad I was able to hang out with Kent State fans before the game, watch pregame hitting & fielding from the dugout and then of course watch a team from the Mid-American Conference play in the CWS.

Take wins and losses out of this -- it has already been an experience that I will never forget. Until tomorrow, Go Flashes!! 


Monday, June 18
Kent State will look to shock the world this afternoon when they take on No. 1 Florida (5 p.m. ET, ESPN2) here at the College World Series. Getting a win here at the CWS would be huge but if the Golden Flashes can knock off the top team in the country -- it would be epic. 

Last night the Flashes made their way to a BBQ hosted by The Optimist Group of Omaha Service Group. The Optimist Group of Omaha Service Group led by Fred Uhe and Tom Lynam, is a charitable organization that has hosted teams at the College World Series since the 1970s.  In addition to serving as team hosts during the CWS, the organization is involved in many other activities throughout the year including rasing awareness for childhood cancer and the Nebraska Academic Decathlonjust to name a few.

At the BBQ on Sunday Head Coach Scott Stricklin spoke to the crowd on what it means for Kent State to get to Omaha. 




Now for tonight's Game Information...

Kent State (46-19) v. Florida (47-19) 
Monday, June 18th • (4 p.m. CST/ 5 p.m. EST)
College World Series Bracket #2 Elimination Game (TD Ameritrade Park • Omaha, Neb.)

TV: ESPN2/ESPN2 HD (Karl Ravech, Kyle Peterson, Jenn Brown)
Webcast: Watch LIVE via ESPN3 (Also available on Watch ESPN App)
Audio: Kent State Sports Network
Twitter: Follow @JGuyMAC & @FlashesBaseball for all of the latest from the CWS
Livestats

Probable Pitchers
Kent State: #19 Ryan Bores (Jr., RHP, Strongsville, Ohio) 9-3, 3.35 ERA, 67 SO, 16 BB, 17 GS, 104.2 IP
Florida: #11 Hudson Randall (Jr., RHP, Atlanta, Ga.) 9-2, 2.61 ERA, 61 SO, 10 BB, 15 GS, 93.0 IP 

Tuesday, June 19

No it's not a dream. Kent State is still alive in the College World Series after defeating the top ranked Florida Gators, 5-4. Yes, let me repeat that. The Kent State Golden Flashes, from the Mid-American Conference are still alive in the College World Series!! Unreal!

The Golden Flashes will now take on South Carolina tomorrow (Wed., June 20th) night at 8 p.m. on ESPN/ESPN HD. 

I can't even begin to put into words how this feels. To be a part of this magical ride is something I'll never forget. The video below pretty much sums it up though. If you don't get chills after watching this then you aren't a fan of Kent State or the Mid-American Conference. I've watched it over and over again and I'm sure you will too. (BTW, Kent State has done a great job at documenting this journey as well). 





 
I was able to speak with Kent State Head Coach Scott Stricklin, Ryan Bores, Jimmy Rider, Evan Campbell, David Lyon and T.J. Sutton following the game. Here's what they had to say about the team believing they could get it done against the Gators and how it feels to still be alive in the College World Series. 
















Wednesday, June 20

It's GAMEDAY!! The task doesn't get any easier for Kent State as the Golden Flashes will take on two-time defending National Champion South Carolina tonight (8 p.m. ET, ESPN). With UCLA losing last night, the Flashes are still one of five teams with a shot at winning the National Championship! Here's today's game information:

Kent State (47-19) v. South Carolina (46-18) 
Wednesday, June 20th • (7 p.m. CST/ 8 p.m. EST)
College World Series Bracket #2 Elimination Game (TD Ameritrade Park • Omaha, Neb.)

TV: ESPN/ESPN HD (Mike Patrick, Orel Hershiser, Jessica Mendoza)
Webcast: Watch LIVE via ESPN3 (Also available on Watch ESPN App)
Audio: Kent State Sports Network
Twitter: Follow @JGuyMAC & @FlashesBaseball for all of the latest from the CWS
Livestats

Probable Pitchers
Kent State: #31 Tyler Skulina (So., RHP, Strongsville, Ohio) 11-2, 3.63 ERA, 97 SO,  41 BB, 17 GS, 101.2 IP
South Carolina: #11 Jordan Montgomery (Fr., LHP, Atlanta, Ga.) 5-1, 4.05 ERA, 51 SO, 9 BB, 12 GS, 66.2 IP


There was little time to celebrate the victory however as the team was back on the field at Bellevue East High School for practice again on Tuesday afternoon. I was able to get some video from Kent State Head Coach Scott Stricklin as well as second basemen Derek Toadvine. 






Also, if you are looking for some decent reading before today's game check out the following articles. I've also placed a link to ESPN Cleveland's interview with Head Coach Scott Stricklin below.

Media Links
ESPN Cleveland Interview (The Really Big Show):
Head Coach Scott Stricklin

Cleveland Plain Dealer (Terry Pluto): Kent State keeps surpassing expectations in College World Series

Cleveland Plain Dealer (Elton Alexander): In mourning, a chance for celebration for Jason Bagoly and Kent State baseball

Cleveland Plain Dealer (Elton Alexander): Kent State baseball key: Hit S.C. early, often as College World Series resumes tonight

Akron Beacon Journal (Marla Ridenour): Kent State discovers formula for NCAA success

Fox Sports Ohio (Zac Jackson): Life on the edge suits Flashes just fine

RecordPub.com (David Carducci): Kent State baseball star to miss Wednesday's College World Series game for mother's funeral



Thursday, June 21

Who is ready for some Flashes baseball this morning?!? I know I am! Ready to shock the world once again. 

Mother nature didn't want to cooperate last night so we are back here at TD Ameritrade Park for a Noon ET/ 11 a.m. (ESPN2) game between Kent State & South Carolina. Due to inclement weather, last's night game was postponed and will be played today. Here's what Kent State Head Coach Scott Stricklin had to say after last night's announcement to play the game today. 




Here's today's Game Information...

Kent State (47-19) v. South Carolina (46-18) 
Thursday, June 21st • (Noon EST/11 a.m. CST)
College World Series Bracket #2 Elimination Game (TD Ameritrade Park • Omaha, Neb.)

TV: ESPN2/ESPN2 HD (Mike Patrick, Orel Hershiser, Jessica Mendoza)
Webcast: Watch LIVE via ESPN3 (Also available on Watch ESPN App)
Audio: Kent State Sports Network
Twitter: Follow @JGuyMAC & @FlashesBaseball for all of the latest from the CWS
Livestats

Probable Pitchers
Kent State: #31 Tyler Skulina (So., RHP, Strongsville, Ohio) 11-2, 3.63 ERA, 97 SO,  41 BB, 17 GS, 101.2 IP
South Carolina: #29 Michael Roth (Sr., LHP, Greer, SC) 8-1, 2.60 ERA, 82 SO, 40 BB, 18 GS, 121.1 IP