040519 - BaseballvECM

Members of the Kent State baseball team stand on the rail to watch a ball approach the home run fence in their game against Western Michigan on Friday.

Kent State baseball is set to host a three-game series this weekend against Central Michigan, who is currently tied for first place in the Mid-American Conference.

The Chippewas come into Schoonover Stadium tied for first in the conference with Miami (OH). The Chippewas currently have a record of 24-8 to go with a 7-2 mark in MAC play.

“I feel really good going into this weekend more so than any other weekend we’ve had,” coach Jeff Duncan said about the upcoming series. “I feel like we’ve got three starters that we are comfortable with going into the weekend.”

Friday’s matchup features senior Connor Wollersheim getting the start for the Flashes. Wollersheim has a 2-4 record and a 2.44 ERA and has held opponents to a batting average of .208. He also has 55 strikeouts of the year, which is good for second in the MAC.

Saturday’s starting pitcher is expected to be junior John Matthews. Matthews is 3-5 on the season with a 6.20 ERA.

Sunday’s starters will be split between freshman Trevor Pittman and freshman Luke Albright. The pitching duo of Pittman and Albright has worked well, giving the Flashes some options to choose from. 

“The mentality and attitude is important at this time and I just want the guys to be fresh and have energy,” Duncan said. “To win three in a row would be huge. “We just have to have consistency and be into every pitch.”

The Chippewas come into the weekend with a conference-best .307 batting average.

“If our pitchers can execute their pitches, that will be important for this weekend,” Duncan said. “If they can do that, I think they can slow down their offense.”

The Flashes are looking for a big offensive performance as well. Senior Kian O’Brien was named MAC Player of the Week batting .500 over the past week with two home runs and a double to go along with seven RBI and six runs scored. 

“He is very confident,” Duncan said of O'Brien. He’s playing third base at a high level and swinging the bat really good. “He has been really good for us this season staying confident.”

Kent State comes into the weekend with a 13-17 record and 3-4 in conference play. The Flashes are coming off a loss to Canisius College on Tuesday, where the Flashes were held to just four hits and two runs.

The Flashes will look to put that loss behind them when they start the weekend series.

“Sunday after the game should be mentally exhausting,” Duncan said. “I want to see that out of the team this weekend. “It should be a good series, they have a great record and have been very good so far. I just want to see our team attack the game and play the game like we did a couple times last weekend.”

John Conley is a sports reporter. Contact him at jconle26@kent.edu.

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