Through nine innings: Kent State 4, Akron 3
No extra innings today, but it was close. The Golden Flashes pushed the winning run across in the top of the eighth inning.
T.J. Sutton singled to open the inning and was replaced by Troy Summers at first base. Cody Koch came as a pinch hitter to try to bunt him over but couldn't get it down. Instead of laying down the bunt as KSU had hoped, Koch had to swing away with two strikes and crushed a double off the base of the wall in center field, putting runners on second and third.
Justin Wagler allowed Summers to score with a sacrifice fly deep enough to right field.
Dan Kopcak came on in the ninth inning and closed the door, though it wasn't seamless. Jared Turocy walked to open the inning and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt, putting the tying run in scoring position. But Kopcak got Matt LaRocca to pop out and Bryan White to ground out to end the game.
This puts the Zips in a must-win situation tomorrow in order to qualify for the MAC Tournament. They also need Eastern Michigan to lose its final two games against Toledo. In other words, this might have been the final blow for Akron.
Kent State's win pushes them to 19-7 in MAC play, half a game behind Buffalo at 19-6. To grab the top seed in the tournament, the Golden Flashes need to win tomorrow and need Buffalo to fall to Bowling Green.
Through six innings: Kent State 3, Akron 3
The Zips took a 3-1 lead and the Golden Flashes, of course, tied it up again.
In the top of the fourth, Akron finally got to KSU starting pitcher Tyler Skulina. With two runners on and one out, Tyler Begun put the Zips on the scoreboard with an RBI single to left-center field. Third baseman Matt LaRocca followed by roping a line drive to right field. Golden Flashes right fielder T.J. Sutton dove for the ball but missed and had it trickle away, allowing the Zips to take a 3-1 lead.
KSU outfielder Alex Miklos opened the top of the sixth inning with a home run to left field to bring the score to 3-2. With two outs already in the inning, Jason Bagoly and Justin Wagler each reached base, and second baseman Derek Toadvine singled home the tying run down the left field line.
Akron starting pitcher John Valek has since been replaced by Joe Vazquez, who recorded the final out of the sixth inning. Skulina is still going strong through six innings.
Through three innings: Kent State 1, Akron 0
Following last night's 17-inning marathon, Kent State holds a one-run lead in the early going Friday.
Catcher Tommy Monnot reached on an error in the top of the second and advanced to third on a picture-perfect hit-and-run off the bat of T.J. Sutton. Monnot later scored on a wild pitch to score the lone run today.
The Zips could (and possibly should) be down more than that. Three balls have been smoked but were hit right at somebody (two at Akron third baseman Matt LaRocca). The Flashes also have ran themselves out of some innings. Before Monnot scored, Sutton took off on a line drive from Jason Bagoly. LaRocca caught it, though, and easily doubled him up.
Later, George Roberts doubled and was thrown out trying to steal third base.
Golden Flashes pitcher T.J. Skulina hasn't allowed a hit through three innings pitched.