KENT: The Kent State Golden Flashes managed to survive Saturday despite living dangerously and beat Central Michigan.
Sunday afternoon was a different story.
The Golden Flashes, unable to get timely hits, left base runners stranded throughout their 8-2 loss to the Broncos at Schoonover Stadium on Senior Day. They also committed four errors in the loss.
The Golden Flashes left 12 men on base for the second consecutive game, leaving the bases loaded in the second and fifth inning.
“I’m just disappointed in the way we played,” coach Scott Stricklin said. “To come out and play like that on Senior Day isn’t representative of our program. To make four errors, to make mental mistake after mental mistake, it’s just really disappointing.”
“We have to go on to the next game, but, yes, it’s certainly something to be concerned about. Our guys are tightening up in scoring position. We haven’t had good at-bats. We’ve had great at-bats with no one on base, but when guys get on base, guys struggle and it’s been going on all year. It’s not just the past couple of days.”
Stricklin said that the problem is more of a mental issue as his players are trying to do too much in those situations.
But that wasn’t the only challenge the Golden Flashes (27-21, 14-7 MAC) faced. Although their offense struggled, the Chippewas got a home run by Dylan Goodwin in the top of the seventh inning. Mostly, they sprayed hits throughout the game that weren’t exactly powerful.
Conversely, Kent State hit the ball hard and hit it directly to fielders.
“(The Chippewas) battled and found a way and we threw a ball away in the first inning,” Stricklin said, “…which can’t happen and it did. And it happened later in the game. It’s one thing to make a mistake, it’s another thing to make a mistake twice.”
That manifested itself in the first inning when Central Michigan (20-25, 9-12) scored first courtesy of two bloop singles and a wild pitch by the Golden Flashes’ Casey Wilson.
The Chippewas produced three runs in the top of the third. Chippewas second baseman Tom Lally had a one-out single and center fielder Nick Regnier reached on a fielding error. Wilson then hit third baseman Jordan Adams, loading the bases for first baseman Cody Leichman, who smacked a double down the right-field line to drive in two runs.
The inning sealed the Golden Flashes’ fate and left them with work to do as they trail the Buffalo Bulls in the Mid-American Conference’s East Division by a game and a half with six left.
“In order to be the team we want to be, we’re going to have to do things the right way,” Stricklin said. “We’re going to have to play with a purpose. We’re going to have to have better approaches at the plate, on the field and on the mound. Everything we do we’re going to have to do a better job at it.”
Stricklin referred to the season as a roller coaster because of series such as the one against Central Michigan.There are times, such as Friday night, when Kent State looks unbeatable.
Other times, it’s almost the opposite.
“We were two different teams,” Stricklin said. “In order for us to be a championship team, we’ve got to find a way to be consistent. Right now we’re just an inconsistent baseball team.”