Baseball’s offense stalls against Golden Flashes

By Brian Earle

Baseball stumbled this weekend as it lost two of three games in a conference series against Kent State at Schoonover Stadium in Kent, Ohio.

The Huskies’ (15-32-1, 9-12 MAC) lone win of the weekend came in a thrilling 6-5 victory in game two on Saturday. The Huskies held on behind pitcher Eli Anderson’s gutty complete-game performance and some big-time defensive plays in the ninth inning.

Kent State outfielder T.J. Sutton drew a leadoff walk to start the ninth inning and ended up at second base after a sacrifice bunt. Infielder Sawyer Polen followed that up with a ground ball to shortstop Brian Sisler, who gunned out Sutton at third base as he tried to move up on the play.

With Polen reaching first base on the fielder’s choice, infielder Curtis Olvey hit a ball to the wall in center field. Center fielder Jason Gasser relayed the ball to second baseman Alex Klonowski, who whipped the ball to catcher Johnny Zubek to tag Polen out at the plate for the final out of the game.

“The defense, at times, was a little spotty, but it made a lot of big plays when it needed to,” said head coach Ed Mathey, according to a news release. “I don’t know if I’ve ever seen, with a one-run lead in the bottom of the ninth, the last two outs of the game at third and then home.”

Anderson gave up five runs, only two of them earned, in his third win of the season. He scattered 10 hits and walked one batter while striking out 11 hitters.

The Huskies’ source of offense came from right fielder Brandon Mallder, who went 3-for-3 at the plate, hitting two home runs while driving in four RBIs. He led off the second inning with an inside-the-park home run, and in the third inning he hit a three-run home run over the right-field wall.

The inside-the-park home run is the Huskies’ first one since Alex Jones did so in 2010, and he is the first Huskie to hit two home runs in a game since Jeff Zimmerman in 2012.

The Huskies got off to a strong start in game one on Friday, holding a 2-0 lead in the fifth inning, but it wasn’t enough as the Golden Flashes rallied to win 4-3. The Huskies lost in heartbreaking fashion as the Golden Flashes scored one run in the bottom of the ninth inning for a walk-off win.

Catcher Jeff Revesz started off the inning by reaching second base on a throwing error by third baseman Carl Russell. Later in the inning ,with the bases loaded and one out, pitcher Ben Neumann hit outfielder Alex Miklos to bring in Revesz from third to win the game.

The Huskies committed four errors in the game and ultimately their mistakes led to their undoing.

In game three on Sunday it was all Golden Flashes as they took care of the Huskies, 8-2. The Golden Flashes went to work in the bottom of the second inning as they scored five runs.

They capitalized on a throwing error by third baseman Tommy Hook to first base that would have ended the inning. After the error, three of the five runs were scored.

The Huskies had their opportunities to score, especially early on in the game, as they recorded seven hits but stranded seven base runners. Second baseman Justin Fletcher drove in both of the Huskies’ runs in the game.