Dominant pitching pushes Kent State past Huskies

By Zachary Bertram, Senior Sports Reporter

DeKALB – NIU (3-10, 0-1 MAC) was defeated by Kent State University (9-4, 1-0 MAC) in its first Mid-American Conference game of the season by a score of 12-1. 

Redshirt senior pitcher Ben Cruikshank dominated for the Golden Flashes, giving up just one hit and striking out 11 batters in seven innings pitched. Cruikshank took a no-hitter into the eighth inning.

The Golden Flashes used a combination of Cruikshank’s pitching and an early offensive explosion to extend their winning streak to seven games. Junior first baseman Aidan Longwell led the way offensively for Kent State, going 1-for-2 with 4 RBIs (runs batted in).

Kent State jumped on NIU junior pitcher Jacob Wilde right away, scoring seven runs in the first two innings. Sophomore pitcher Mason Ruh was solid in relief of Wilde, giving up three earned runs in five innings of work.

Recent defensive woes continued for the Huskies, as they committed five errors – leading to three unearned Golden Flash runs. 

Kent State senior outfielder Josh Johnson and sophomore outfielder Jake Casey each homered for the Golden Flashes. 

NIU had just one hit going into the ninth inning – a single from junior shortstop Andre Demetral. A sacrifice fly from redshirt senior right fielder Jack Anderson in the top of the ninth inning brought junior infielder Parker Shupe home for NIU’s only run of the game. 

Kent State freshman pitcher Jordan Kolenda relieved Cruikshank, recording the final six outs and sealing the 12-1 win for the Golden Flashes.

The Huskies will look to bounce back against Kent State at 12 p.m. Saturday at Olga Mural Field. Live stats will be available via SideArmStats.