Kent State Baseball Pushes Back Pepperdine With Series-Opening Shutout
Starn improves to 21-8 in his career by striking out five over seven frames while Wilson earns his second straight two-inning save to seal the win for the Flashes.
MALIBU, Calif. – The Kent State baseball team pushed back Pepperdine, 2-0, Friday (March 16) in non-conference action at Eddy D. Field Stadium thanks to yet another masterpiece from senior ace left-handed pitcher David Starn (Hudson, Ohio).
The Golden Flashes (8-6) snapped a two-game losing skid and halted a winning streak at five games for the Waves (13-5).
Starn struck out five in seven innings of work and retired 17 of the final 20 batters he faced to improve to 3-2 on the season. He is now 21-8 in his career and is tied with Joe Skodny (1982-85) for the eighth-most career pitching victories in Kent State history. Starn is six victories away from breaking the school record of 26 set by Pat Bangston (1984-87). The 2012 Louisville Slugger Third Team All-America selection upped his career strikeout total to 251 and is 24 away from breaking the Kent State record of 274 set by Dirk Hayhurst (2000-03). Friday's contest marked the third time this season Starn pitched at least seven frames and 15th time in his career. His 255 career innings pitched rank fourth in school history.
Junior right-handed closer Casey Wilson (Sagamore Hills, Ohio) earned his second straight two-inning save and posted his sixth save of his career. He has not surrendered a run in six appearances this season and has tallied eight strikeouts while allowing just two hits and a walk.
The Waves appeared poised to strike in the bottom of the second when redshirt sophomore first baseman Sam Meyer smacked a leadoff single up the middle and moved to third one out later on a single to right center by freshman catcher James Grandpre. Junior shortstop Zach Vincej filled the bases one out later by drawing a walk, but Starn worked out of the jam by fanning freshman center fielder Matt Gelalich to extinguish the threat.
Kent State and Pepperdine were locked in a scoreless pitchers' duel until the Flashes broke through in the sixth. Junior center fielder Evan Campbell (Beloit, Ohio) led the frame off with a base hit through the right side, then moved to second courtesy of a sacrifice bunt by senior shortstop Jimmy Rider (Venetia, Pa.) Senior catcher David Lyon (Emporium, Pa.) put runners on the corners with one out thanks to a single through the left side that moved Campbell up to third. Campbell then scampered home on a wild pitch to land the game's first punch.
Starn shrugged off a one-out double down the right field line by freshman right fielder Aaron Brown in the home half by getting Meyer to line out to second and senior left fielder Tom Cooper to ground out to second.
The Flashes extended their edge to two runs when Campbell drew a leadoff walk, advanced to second on another sacrifice bunt by Rider and to third on a groundout by Lyon in the eighth. That set the table for junior first baseman George Roberts (Summerhill, Pa.) to drive Campbell home with a single through the right side.
Wilson did not allow a base runner in the eighth or ninth to seal the shutout win.
Roberts led the Flashes at the plate with a 3-for-4 effort with an RBI. He is tied with Campbell with a team-high seven multi-hit games in 2012. Campbell recorded the 38th multi-hit outing of his career with a two-hit performance, extending his team lead to 25 hits. Rider added a double.
Pepperdine junior righty Jon Moscot was saddled with the pitching defeat, falling to 3-2 on the season despite going to the distance for the Waves. He surrendered two earned runs on nine hits and a walk. He struck out nine.
Vincej and Meyer led Pepperdine with two hits apiece.
The Golden Flashes and Waves are set to square off again Saturday (March 17) at 4 p.m. ET (1 p.m. PT). Junior righty Ryan Bores (Strongsville, Ohio) is scheduled to take the ball for Kent State and will be looking to pick up his team-best fourth mound triumph of the season.