KALAMAZOO, Mich. – Kent State (30-21, 17-7) completed the series sweep on the road at Western Michigan (15-35, 7-17) after a 4-1 Sunday victory.
The win was bolstered by a trio of Kent State hurlers that allowed just one run and six hits and did not walk a batter while striking out four. Casey Wilson earned the win in the start, going 6.2 innings. Eric Dorsch followed him with an inning of one-hit, two strikeout work. Brian Clark earned his eighth save of the season by picking up the last four outs of the game. Clark got two fly outs on two pitches and then struck out his third opponent on three pitches before getting a ground out to end the game.
"Casey Wilson was great on the mound," said head coach Scott Stricklin. "Eric Dorsch and Brian Clark came out of the ‘pen and shut the door. When you pitch and play defense, you're going to win a lot of games. We had to manufacture runs, but we found ways."
The Golden Flashes' first three runs all came on sacrifice flies. In the third, Derek Toadvine led off the inning with a double and scored on a sacrifice fly by Evan Campbell. Campbell scored the team's second run in the sixth after he walked, stole second and came in on a sacrifice to center field off the bat of Alex Miklos. Campbell also plated the third run of the game, doubling in the eighth and scoring on a Tommy Monnot sacrifice. Miklos scored the team's final run after reaching on a base hit and coming home on a Zarley Zalewski single.
"We did a really good job today," Stricklin said. "Hits were tough to come by, [Western Michigan] did a good job on the mound."
Western Michigan's lone run came on three singles in the seventh.
Campbell finished the day 2-for-2 with two runs scored, a RBI, stolen base, sacrifice and two walks. Both his hits were for extra-bases as he hit a double and a triple. Zalewski also had two hits, going 2-for-4 with a RBI.
Kent State has now recorded at least 30 wins a season for 15 consecutive years, dating back to 1998. They remain in second place in the Mid-American Conference close behind Buffalo who also won on Sunday.
"Consistency," said Stricklin on reaching the 30 win mark for the 15th straight time. "That's the thing we've been preaching for a long time here is trying to be consistent in what we do and how we do it. I'm proud of this team and the way they've bounced back. We've put ourselves right in the hunt to win another championship."
That hunt will continue on Tuesday as the Golden Flashes travel to a nationally ranked Pittsburgh team for a 6:00pm game.
Conference play then wraps up against rival Akron on Thursday-Saturday. Thursday is the annual Diamond Classic for Kids, a charity game benefitting the Akron Children's Hospital played at Canal Park at 6:30pm. Friday and Saturday's games will be at Akron's home field both beginning at 1:00pm. If Kent State wins the series, they will clinch the PNC Wagon Wheel Challenge for the second year, remaining unbeaten in the all-sport rivalry competition.
"This weekend we're going to be playing for a championship," Stricklin said, "so we've got to come ready to play on Tuesday in Pittsburgh and play against the Zips this weekend."