Bores Shines In Home Debut, Sparks Kent State Baseball To Series Win Over Northern Illinois
Junior right-handed starting pitcher struck a career-high nine over eight frames, retired 14 of the final 15 batters he faced.
KENT, Ohio – Junior right-handed starting pitcher Ryan Bores (Strongsville, Ohio) displayed the command that made him a 2011 MLB First-Year Player Draft pick, striking out a career-high nine over a career-long eight innings and retiring 14 of the final 15 batters he faced to help the Kent State baseball team down interdivision foe Northern Illinois, 6-1, and win the Mid-American Conference weekend series Saturday (March 24) at Olga A. Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium.
The Golden Flashes (10-10, 2-0 MAC) won the weekend courtesy of Saturday's victory that followed a 12-6 triumph over the Huskies (5-18, 0-2 MAC) in the series opener on Friday (March 23). Kent State has won four straight conference series dating back to the 2011 season.
"Ryan Bores was outstanding, as good as we've ever seen him," said eighth-year head coach Scott Stricklin. "That's about as close to perfect as you can be. He commanded his fastball, had his breaking ball working and threw a couple changeups and got some outs of with it. That's what we'd hoped we'd get from him, and now that he's set that bar high, we're going to expect it from him every time out."
Making his debut in front of the Blue & Gold faithful after transferring to Kent State by way of Cuyahoga Community College, Bores improved to 4-2 on the season and increased his season strikeout total to 23 against just eight walks. He did not issue a free pass to the Huskies. Junior righty Casey Wilson (Sagamore Hills, Ohio) tossed a scoreless ninth inning for Kent State in his eighth appearance out of the bullpen this season.
"Everything was working well," said Bores. "It was great to play at home. I was just trying to throw strikes and get people out."
Bores received some early insurance for Kent State's offense. Junior center fielder Evan Campbell (Beloit Ohio) led off the bottom of the first with a single to right, moved to third on a base hit to right by senior catcher David Lyon (Emporium, Pa.) and scored one out later on a wild pitch to give the Flashes a 1-0 lead.
Kent State took advantage of some two-out lightning to increase its lead to 3-0 in the third. Senior shortstop Jimmy Rider (Venetia, Pa.) was struck by a pitch with two outs, then stole second. That set the stage for Lyon to crush two-run home run over the right field wall, his second round tripper of the season and 16th of his career.
The Huskies got a run back in the top of the fourth when junior second baseman Jordan Huffman cracked a leadoff single, advanced to second on a wild pitch one out later and then scored on a fielding error by Kent State first baseman George Roberts (Summerhill, Pa.)
Unfortunately for the Huskies, they were unable to solve the riddle of Bores the rest of the way as the Kent State arm retired 14 of the final 15 batters he faced.
Kent State tacked on three more scores in the eighth to help its cause. Lyon coaxed a leadoff walk, then moved up 90 feet on a failed pickoff attempt by Northern Illinois senior catcher Brett Frantini. Sophomore first baseman Cody Koch (Sandusky, Ohio) and sophomore right fielder T.J. Sutton (Sandusky, Ohio) drew back-to-back walks to fill the bases for redshirt sophomore left fielder Troy Summers (Minerva, Ohio), who delivered a two-RBI single back up the middle to plate Lyon and Koch. Sutton and Summers each moved up a base on a wild pitch. After redshirt junior third baseman Nick Hamilton (Avon, Ohio) drew an intentional walk to load the bases again, Sutton scampered home and made it a 6-1 game when Northern Illinois junior center fielder Jamison Wells dropped a sacrifice fly served up by Kent State sophomore second baseman Derek Toadvine (Springfield, Ohio).
Lyon led all hitters with three hits, two RBIs and two runs scored while Huffman led Northern Illinois at the plate with two singles and a run scored.
Bores outdueled Northern Illinois junior righty Taylor Nawrocki, who struck out seven over seven frames but surrendered four earned runs on five hits and two walks to fall to 1-2 on the season.
Kent State goes for the weekend series sweep on Techno Sunday (March 25). Sophomore righty Tyler Skulina (Strongsville, Ohio) gets the starting nod on the mound and will make his Olga A. Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium debut. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. Admission is free.