I apologize for the lack of posts lately. In the final two weeks of school I must focus my energy on finals that make my head feel as if it may explode. But I'm back now and able to concentrate on what is really important: Kent State athletics.
The Kent State baseball team was all smiles yesterday as it survived the rain and the Zips to win the three game set. The Flashes averaged more than 12 runs a game against the Zips and were powered by the long ball.... a lot.
The Flashes had two home runs in Friday's 15-7 loss. Freshmen Ben Klafczynksi (eighth of the season) and Brett Weibley (first) each hit homers. Saturday Junior first basemen Greg Rohan blasted two over the left field fence. Sophomore Jared Humphreys and junior Ryan Mitchell also went back-to-back in the fourth inning as the Flashes won 11-2.
Sunday it was Rohan again, hitting his conference leading 17th home run of the year. Senior Doug Sanders, Anthony Gallas, Conor Egan and Jared Bartholomew also tagged the Zips with home runs in the 19-5 win.
The Flashes have now won 21 of their last 25 games and really field a lot of talent. Watching Saturday's game it was quite obvious that the Flashes are one of the top teams in the Mid-American Conference. I mean that as no slight to the Zips, who field a very solid MAC team. It is just that Kent State gets upper echelon talent and continues to show it on the field.
As I wrote in my game story in Sunday's paper, Junior Chris Carpenter worked ahead of most of the batters he faced. The only run he gave up came on an "excuse me" swing by Akron's Matt Roberts in the fourth inning.
Carpenter booted the slow roller back to himself allowing outfielder Brandon White to score. White was Carpenter's only walk two batters earlier. The run was unearned.
"I was just focusing on getting ahead of people and staying ahead and getting in good counts," Carpenter said after Saturday's game.
The junior flame thrower used that mentality and worked off of his above average fastball as he mixed in his off-speed stuff to strike out eight in the contest.
He has now been drafted twice in the Major League draft. As a high school senior the Detroit Tigers plucked him in the seventh round of the 2004 amateur draft. Last year, Carpenter was selected by the New York Yankees in the 18th round, but he did not sign. Carpenter has no idea where he may be selected this season and said he is just pitching and focusing on what he can do.
"Wherever I go. I go," he said.
With having such a marquee player like Carpenter, who Baseball America ranked as 43rd best college prospect, on the roster; the Flashes have the luxury of more scouts attending their games, Kent State coach Scott Stricklin said.
That gives a greater opportunity for players like Rohan, reliever Reid Lamport, shortstop Chris Tremblay, second baseman Doug Sanders a better chance of getting drafted. Stricklin believes all four of them could be drafted.
It will be interesting to see where Rohan eventually goes. The junior first baseman obviously hits with pop and has a short, compact body that reminds me of Jeff Bagwell.
When talking about the draft, the one guy that must be mentioned is Ben Klafczynksi. The freshman out of Medina Highland High school would have been a high draft pick last season, but made it known he wanted to play for the Flashes. This year her hit .338 with nine home runs, third on the team.