KENT, Ohio – Pitching once again led the way for Kent State (27-20, 14-6) as they completed a series win over Central Michigan (19-25, 8-12) with a 6-3 victory Saturday night.
The trio of Tyler Skulina, Dan Kopcak and Eric Dorsch only allowed five hits in the game and only walked one batter while striking out 13 Chippewas. The performances on the mound were needed, as Kent State, despite picking up 12 hits, left 13 men on base and needed the help of five Central Michigan errors.
"From very early on we left way too many guys on base," head coach Scott Stricklin said. "We had opportunities to score runs and just didn't do it. We allowed them to hang around… We were very fortunate to get out of here with a win."
Central Michigan took an early 1-0 lead in the first after two errors allowed runners to reach and then come home. Kent State answered with two in the bottom of the inning, though. Derek Toadvine led off the game with a base hit and Sawyer Polen reached after him after being hit by a pitch. Evan Campbell then doubled to left center to score a run. George Roberts followed suit with a RBI single.
The Chippewas tied the game right back in the top of the second on a single, double and groundout, but Kent State answered again and took the lead for good. They tallied a run in the bottom half of the frame after T.J. Sutton doubled and Polen singled him home.
The lead increased to 4-2 with a run in the fourth on a single, stolen base and advancement on an error by Toadvine before Campbell picked up another RBI on a groundout.
Central Michigan looked to rally in the seventh, scoring a run on a double and sacrifice fly, but with a runner in scoring position with one out, Kopcak came in the game and got a strikeout and fly out to end the threat.
The Golden Flashes added two insurance runs in the eighth after Polen reached on an error and scored on a Roberts double. Roberts later came home on a wild pitch.
Dorsch finished the game on a high, striking out the side to secure the win and earn himself his third save of the season.
"Extremely encouraging to see him strikeout the side there in the ninth," said Stricklin of Dorsch's performance. "I think that's going to give him a boost, and it gives our team a boost because our guys really back Eric very well."
Roberts continued hitting at a hot pace in conference play. The reigning Mid-American Conference Player of the Year went 4-for-5 with a double and two RBI. His batting average in MAC play has now swelled to .433 in 20 games. The top three in the order (Toadvine, Polen and Campbell) all had two hits on the night.
The win is Kent State's eighth straight and couldn't come at a better time. With a Buffalo win and a Northern Illinois loss earlier in the day, Kent State sits second in the conference behind the Bulls. The Flashes hold the tiebreaker over the Huskies.