A strange, difficult season for the Kent State baseball team ended abruptly on Thursday with a second loss in the opening two days of the 2019 Mid-American Conference Tournament.

Fourth-seeded Miami (37-18) used the long ball to pull away from the No. 3 seed Golden Flashes, who gave up four home runs and fell 8-5 at Sprenger Stadium in Avon. The defending champion Flashes (30-24) were the first to exit the MAC tourney this spring by losing for the third time in four games this season to the RedHawks.

Back-to-back solo homers by Miami's Cole Andrews and Mackay Williams in the sixth inning off Flashes junior starter John Matthews broke a 3-3 tie. Kent State trimmed the lead to 5-4 when senior Kian O'Brien was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the sixth.

Jordan Stephens then put the RedHawks firmly in control with a two-run double in the seventh, followed in the ninth by junior Landon Stephens' second homer of the day.

Despite littering the bases with seven hits, six walks and four hit batsmen, the Flashes did minimal damage offensively. They left 13 runners stranded compared to Miami's five, and left the bases loaded in both the fifth and sixth innings.

“We just weren’t able to get a timely hit today, and that’s why we are done,” KSU coach Jeff Duncan said. “It was a tough game. I thought we had a really good plan for their guy [starting pitcher Sam Bachman]. We got his pitch count up, but he’s good.”

Kent State entered the postseason on a tear, winning 14 of its last 17 games. But the Flashes were rarely able to string together hits against Ohio University on Wednesday (7-3 loss) or the RedHawks, while foes were able to post several crooked numbers against their pitching staff.

Bachman, the MAC Freshman Pitcher of the Year, was touched up for three runs on five hits in 4 2/3 innings. He gave up an RBI double to O'Brien in the first and a solo homer to sophomore Michael Turner in the third, but left with a one-run lead thanks to Miami's three-run third inning that featured a two-run homer by Landon Stephens.

Andy Almquist (6-0) tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings to earn the win, striking out three, and Spencer Mraz allowed one run in the final two innings to earn his first save.

Matthews (7-6) took the loss, allowing six runs on eight hits with one walk and three strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings. After struggling as a starter, Matthews had earned wins in long relief the past four weeks.

Senior Pavin Parks had two singles but failed to come through in two clutch situations during the middle innings. Junior Cam Touchette added a double. Redshirt sophomore Ben Carew reached base for the 35th consecutive game, but had his hitting streak snapped at 19 games. He finished the season with a .406 batting average.