The Golden Flashes are going to the College World Series for the first time in school history after taking down Oregon 3-2 in walk-off fashion Monday night in Eugene, Ore.
With the score tied 2-2 in the bottom of the ninth inning and Derek Toadvine on second base, shortstop Jimmy Rider came up with the biggest hit in Kent State history in his game-winning bloop single down the left field line to score Toadvine and send KSU's dugout into bedlam.
Up until that final run, this game was eerily similar to KSU's 3-2 loss to Oregon Sunday night in game 2 of the series.
Like Sunday, KSU grabbed a 2-0 lead and held it for most of the game while the Golden Flashes received outstanding starting pitching (Ryan Bores in game 2 and Tyler Skulina in game 3). And, like Sunday, Oregon came back late in the game to erase the deficit (the Ducks tied the game in the top of the eighth inning).
This time, the Golden Flashes overcame the momentum shift with Rider's 350th hit of his career, the biggest of them all.
At a selection show watch party held at Water Street Tavern before the NCAA Regionals, manager Scott Stricklin said his team had to win the Regional and at least contend for Omaha in the Super Regional. He's done one step better than that.