Richie Mulhall

AVON: The Kent State baseball team advanced to the championship game of the Mid-American Conference Tournament with a 4-2 win over Eastern Michigan in a game that started late and ended early Sunday morning at All Pro Freight Stadium.

Facing elimination, the Flashes (44-13) scored three runs in the eighth inning to erase a 2-1 deficit and advance to play Western Michigan for the title at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

Junior Conner Simonetti homered and North Canton Hoover graduate and KSU junior Dom Iero plated the game-winner with a double in the eighth inning. Freshman shortstop Josh Hollander scored Iero with an infield single to make it 4-2.

The Flashes scored an unearned run in the first inning when junior Luke Burch doubled and scored on an error.

The Eagles (23-36) tied it in the sixth on a solo home run by Jeremy Stidham and took the lead in the seventh with the aid of two KSU errors.

KSU starter Joey Murray pitched eight innings to earn the win and Zach Willeman pitched the ninth inning for the save.

With a chance to advance to the title game without a loss, the Flashes fell apart in the eighth inning of Saturdays early game against Eastern Michigan.

With the score tied, the eighth-seeded Eagles scored five runs in the eighth for a 10-5 win over the top-seeded Golden Flashes.

After falling behind early, the Flashes had rallied to tie the score in the sixth but could not keep the momentum.

In an eighth inning to forget, senior right-hander Eli Martin surrendered five runs, walking in two of them. Another run came on a successful safety squeeze attempt in which Kent State sophomore third baseman Dylan Rosa bobbled and lost the ball before he could fire it home.

I think Eastern Michigan did a great job with that safety squeeze, and we didnt make the play, and [Martin] kind of got out of his element a little bit, Kent State coach Jeff Duncan said.

Brennan Williams capped the scoring with a two-run single before being thrown out at second for the final out of the inning.

Thats the worst game weve played all year long, Duncan said.

Burch homered in the first to give KSU a 1-0 lead but the Eagles answered with a solo home run by Austin Davis and took the lead on a home run by junior left fielder Mike Mioduszewski.

The Eagles added two runs in the third to make it 4-1 but KSU sophomore left-hander Eli Kraus limited the damage despite allowing four hits in the inning.

Kraus worked himself out of another bases-loaded jam in the fourth, not allowing any runs, although his defense behind didnt do him any favors, committing two errors in the inning.

With the little things that came up today, we just couldnt get out of our own way a little bit, Duncan said. We gave them a lot of things today to score runs, and when you do that, its hard to win.

A two-run single in the fifth by senior designated hitter Zarley Zalewski cut the Flashes deficit to 4-3 but a home run by Tony Dileo gave EMU a 5-3 lead in the bottom of the fifth.

In the top of the sixth, KSU tied the score on an RBI triple by Zalewski and an RBI fielders choice out by Hollander.

The Flashes had an opportunity to pull ahead in their half of the eighth inning, but outs made on the base paths short-circuited a potential rally. Hollander was thrown out at third after an EMU error.

Sophomore center fielder Mason Mamarella then singled, but was thrown out attempting to swipe second to end the potentially promising inning.