The Kent State baseball team split the season home and home series with the Dayton Flyers by winning the second game, 9-6 on Tuesday. The Flashes lost the first game of the year against the Flyers on Mar. 26 by a score of 12-5.
Senior Pavin Parks launched a three-run home run in the sixth to put the game out of reach. Parks finished 2-for-4 at the plate with four RBI.
“We played good, we had some timely hits,” coach Jeff Duncan said. “Parks with a big three-run home run was huge and Colin Matthews swung the bat good. Tyler Drabick shutting the game down on the mound was important.”
Parks got the start on the mound, pitching 3 ⅔ innings, allowing four earned runs with five strikeouts. Freshman Peyton Deats came in relief, picking up his fourth win of the season. Deats tossed 3 ⅓ innings while letting up no earned runs and four strikeouts. Sophomore Tyler Drabick substituted in the eighth inning and finished the game, grabbing his second save of the year.
Parks was able to play in the field at shortstop after pitching and still remained in the lineup to hit.
“They give me the opportunity to kind of do both, and I’ve been fortunate with that,” Parks said about having the opportunity to pitch and play in the field. “I've done both most of my college career and its good I have coaches that trust me to go after it.”
The Flyers jumped out to an early 4-1 lead in the top of the third, but the Flashes responded with two in the next frame. Parks singled with the bases loaded, scoring Matthews before freshman Justin Kirby drew a walk the next at-bat, bringing in sophomore Michael Turner to cut the Dayton lead to one.
The score would remain until the fifth, when the Flashes would take a 5-4 lead. The Flashes scored off two Dayton miscues, with Kirby scoring on a balk and sophomore Alex Ronnebaum scoring on a passed ball.
“We caused a lot of pressure when we get on the bases because we have good team speed,” Duncan said. “I think when you have guys that can steal bases, there is a lot of passed balls because the catcher gets a little antsy.”
The Flashes opened the game up in the sixth inning, putting four runs on the board. Carew scored on a wild pitch and Parks followed with his three-run home run.
The Flyers got two more runs in the eighth, but it was not enough to overcome the deficit and Kent State would win, 9-6.
The Flashes now have a 22-20 record and are 9-7 in Mid-American Conference play.
Kent State remains at home for a three-game weekend series against Toledo.
The Rockets come to Kent last place in the Mid-American Conference standings with a 3-13 conference record and 15-27 overall.
“Toledo always plays us well,” Duncan said. “They are very edgy, and they don't like Kent State and we need to be ready to play. I think we need to approach pitches better as a whole group and that will be our goal going into the weekend.”
John Conley is a sports reporter. Contact him at email@example.com