With Kent State playing in its first College World Series game in school history, there was good and bad news Saturday evening.
The bad news came in the form of the Golden Flashes’ 8-1 loss to Arkansas in the opening game of Bracket 2 at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska, during a nationally televised matchup on ESPN.
The good news is the fact that the CWS is a double-elimination tournament, so No. 8-ranked KSU (46-21) still has a chance to keep its season alive. Monday, the Flashes will take on the loser of the South Carolina/Florida matchup at 5:00 pm EST on ESPN2.
No. 6-ranked Arkansas (45-20) got to Flashes senior left-hander David Starn for five runs on six hits in just 5 2/3 innings, utilizing a solo home run and taking advantage of six walks to hand the Atlanta Braves’ recent seventh-round draft pick the loss.
Meanwhile, Arkansas pitcher DJ Baxendale cruised to the win, limiting the Flashes to a run on three hits while striking out five and issuing just one walk in 6 1/3 innings. Razorbacks’ closer Brandon Moore picked up the save, holding KSU to just one hit over the final 2 2/3 innings.
Senior shortstop Jimmy Rider accounted for Kent State’s lone run – a two-out, solo home run down the left field line in the top of the sixth inning. Rider, the Mid-American Conference’s all-time hits leader, cut the Flashes deficit to 3-1 with the long ball.
But the Razorbacks’ offense got right back to Starn in the bottom of the inning, quickly chasing him from the game and then promptly putting it out of reach.