Kent State Baseball Opens Conference Play With Three-Game Home Set Against Toledo
KENT STATE GOLDEN FLASHES (10-9, 0-0)
TOLEDO ROCKETS (6-13, 0-0)
Friday, March 25 • 3 p.m.
Saturday, March 26 • 1 p.m.
Sunday, March 27 • 1 p.m.
OLGA A. MURAL FIELD AT SCHOONOVER STADIUM • KENT, OHIO
PROBABLE PITCHING STARTERS
Friday, March 25
Kent State: #39 Andrew Chafin (R-So., LHP, Wakeman, Ohio) 2-1, 0.73 ERA, 27 SO, 8 BB, 4 GS, 24.2 IP
Toledo: #21 Mike Hamann () 1-1, 2.67 ERA, 37 SO, 4 BB, 5 GS, 33.2 IP
Saturday, March 26
Kent State: #5 Kyle Hallock (Sr., LHP, Sandusky, Ohio) 2-3, 2.40 ERA, 23 SO, 11 BB, 5 GS, 30.0 IP
Toledo: #41 Kyle Shaw () 1-1, 3.90 ERA, 11 SO, 9 BB, 5 GS, 27.2 IP
Sunday, March 27
Kent State: #37 David Starn (Jr., LHP, Hudson, Ohio) 2-1, 1.59 ERA, 30 SO, 7 BB, 5 GS, 34.0 IP
Toledo: #4 Lincoln Rassi () 0-3, 5.25 ERA, 20 SO, 10 BB, 5 GS, 24.0 IP
• The Kent State baseball team opens Mid-American Conference play this weekend (March 25-27), hosting Toledo in a three-game interdivision series. The Golden Flashes won the MAC East Division with an 18-9 mark in conference play and enter the 2011 campaign with a 613-519-2 (.541) all-time conference record.
• This weekend's series marks Kent State's first at Olga A. Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium in 2011. Kent State went 13-6 at home last season and won three of its four home conference series in 2010.
• The Flashes split a pair of midweek games this week, falling at Louisville, 11-2, Tuesday (March 22) before rebounding in a big way and thumping host Xavier, 22-2, Wednesday (March 23).
The Golden Flashes allowed a season-high 11 runs on 15 hits while manufacturing only two runs on seven hits and failing to take advantage of two Louisville errors. Kent State sophomore center fielder Evan Campbell (Beloit, Ohio) accounted for three of Kent State's base hits to lead the Flashes at the plate. The Cardinals (13-7, 0-0) swept the season series over Kent State, 4-0, with the win.
Kent State did a complete 180 the following day at Xavier, collecting 20 hits en route to the romp. Kent State totaled at least 20 hits and 20 runs for the first time since a 20-7 thumping of Akron on May 22, 2010.
Senior right fielder Ben Klafczynski (Granger Township, Ohio) manhandled the Xavier pitching, going a career-best 5-for-5 with two home runs, six RBIs and four runs scored. He became the first Kent State hitter to post five hits in one game since Jared Humphreys did so against Eastern Michigan in the Mid-American Conference Tournament on May 28, 2010, became the first Kent State hitter to crush two home runs in one game since Anthony Gallas did so at Akron on May 21, 2010 and became the first Kent State player to score four runs in a game since current junior third baseman Travis Shaw (Washington Court House, Ohio) did so at Akron on May 22, 2010.
TOLEDO SERIES HISTORY
Kent State leads the all-time series against the Rockets, 82-60-1. The squads split the season series in 2010. The Rockets won two of three in the regular season series at Toledo, but the Golden Flashes got the last laugh at the Mid-American Conference Tournament. Kent State survived an 11-inning affair, 4-3, to end Toledo's season. Four Flashes collected two hits apiece in the victory, including Ben Klafczynski, Jimmy Rider and Kyle McMillen.
Toledo has lost 10 of its last 14 games since defeating then-No. 16 Louisville twice. The Rockets edged Cincinnati, 7-5, Wednesday (March 23).
Head Coach: Cory Mee is in his eighth season as the skipper of the Rockets.
Pitcher to Watch: Sophomore right-handed starter Mike Hamann (Port Clinton, Ohio) is Toledo's ace, sporting a 2.67 ERA with a team-high 37 strikeouts and only four walks in five starts.
Hitter to Watch: Senior infielder Chris Dudics (Shelby, Ohio), a 2010 Second-Team All-MAC performer, has hit safely in10 consecutive games and 17 of 19 contests this season. Dudics leads Toledo with a .347 batting average.
SO WE MEET AGAIN
Friday's contest against the Rockets features a pitching battle between two former Sandusky, Ohio-area American Legion aces.
Kent State redshirt sophomore southpaw Andrew Chafin (Wakeman, Ohio) and Toledo sophomore righty Mike Hamann (Port Clinton, Ohio) were teammates and top arms for the Sandusky Post 83 American Legion baseball team in the summer of 2008.
Chafin and Hamann provided a one-two punch that combined to go 12-0 that summer, leading Post 83 to it's first-ever American Legion state championship.
Chafin finished the summer with a 7-0 record, a 1.61 ERA and 108 strikeouts while issuing 28 walks and surrendering 25 hits in 59.2 innings pitched.
AIN'T IT GRAND
Kent State's 22-2 win over Xavier Wednesday (March 23) was grand in several ways.
Junior third baseman Travis Shaw (Washington Court House, Ohio) went 3-for-5 with five RBIs and four runs scored -- including the third grand slam of his career -- while redshirt sophomore pinch hitter Phil Smith (Kent, Ohio) smashed the first grand slam of his career. The grand slams marked Kent State's first since senior right fielder Ben Klafczynski (Granger Township, Ohio) hit one against Eastern Michigan in the Mid-American Conference Tournament on May 28, 2010.
DON'T FORGET US
While Kent State's offense was explosive in its 22-2 victory at Xavier Wednesday (March 23), its pitching was equally dominant. Junior right-handed starting pitcher Ryan Mace (Tallmadge, Ohio) scattered six hits over five innings of work, allowing one earned run and walking two while totaling four strikeouts to improve to 2-1 on the season. Freshman righty Dan Slavik (St. Clairsville, Ohio), senior righty Justin Gill (Canton, Ohio) and junior righty Kyle McMillen (North Canton, Ohio) combined to finish off the Musketeers in relief of Mace, joining forces to throw the last four innings and limiting Xavier to one earned run on one hit and two walks while striking out six.