Kent State Baseball Hosts Toledo, Visits Pitt In Non-Conference Midweek Play
March 27, 2012
vs. Toledo Rockets (10-12)
Olga A. Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium (FREE ADMISSION)
March 28, 2012
at Pittsburgh Panthers (10-11)
Charles L. Cost Field
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Tuesday, March 27 • 3 p.m. ET
PROBABLE PITCHING STARTERS
KENT STATE: #29 Michael Clark (R-So., LHP, Akron, Ohio) 0-2, 10.61 ERA, 11 SO, 10 BB, 1 GS, 9.1 IP
TOLEDO: #33 Alec Schmenk (Fr., RHP, Perrysburg, Ohio) 0-1, 4.32 ERA, 10 SO, 4 BB, 0 GS, 8.1 IP
Wednesday, March 28 • 3 p.m. ET
PROBABLE PITCHING STARTERS
KENT STATE: #32 Ryan Mace (Sr., RHP, Tallmadge, Ohio) 0-2, 8.27 ERA, 17 SO, 4 BB, 2 GS, 16.1 IP
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION - TOLEDO ROCKETS (10-12) • Mid-American Conference
Head Coach: Corey Mee - Ninth Season All-Time Series: Kent State leads, 84-61-1.
• Kent State and Toledo square off in a non-conference midweek contest between the two programs Tuesday (March 27) at Olga A. Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium. The two squads will not face each other in 2012 as part of the MAC’s interdivision play.
• The Golden Flashes won last year’s MAC weekend series over the Rockets, 2-1. Redshirt left-handed starting pitcher Andrew Chafin hurled a complete-game four-hit shutout and tallied 15 strikeouts with no walks as Kent State won the series opener (March 25, 2011), 2-1. After dropping a 5-2 decision the following day, the Flashes secured the series win with an 8-2 Sunday (March 27) triumph. Then-junior catcher David Lyon (Emporium, Pa.) finished a spectacular three-game stretch in grand fashion, going 2-for-3 with four RBIs and a run scored – including a three-run home run over the right field wall in the bottom of the second. Lyon finished the series batting a whopping .778 with seven hits – including two doubles and a homer – with six RBIs and a run scored. He posted a slugging percentage of 1.333 and an on-base percentage of .818.
• Toledo enters Tuesday's game having won seven of its last 11 and currently sits in a three-way tie for second place in the MAC West after finishing the opening weekend of conference play with a 2-1 series win over Ohio. The Rockets beat the Bobcats, 5-3, in the Sunday (March 25) rubber match at Scott Park. Junior right-handed pitcher Jared Locke recorded his third consecutive victory on the mound, allowing two runs on six hits with a career-high seven strikeouts. Freshman third baseman Anthony Smith paced Toledo's bats with two hits, an RBI and a run scored.
• Senior infielder Joe Corfman leads Toledo's attack with a .330 batting average, 30 hits -- including five doubles and three home runs -- to go along with 11 RBIs and a team-high 24 runs scored.
• Kent State and Toledo will complete the home-and-home non-conference midweek series next Wednesday (April 4) at Scott Park.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION - PITTSBURGH PANTHERS (10-11) • Big East Conference
Head Coach: Joe Jordano - 14th Season All-Time Series: Kent State leads, 33-24.
• Kent State invades the Steel City to take on Pittsburgh Wednesday (March 28) at Charles L. Cost Field.
• The Flashes swept the Panthers in the home-and-home non-conference midweek series last year. Kent State earned its first midweek victory of the 2011 campaign, posting a 10-7 victory on (March 16 over host Pittsburgh in the first ever game at Charles L. Cost Field. The Golden Flashes reached double digits in hits for the fourth time this season with 15 as every Kent State starter collected a hit for the first time since May 28, 2010, against Eastern Michigan. Then-freshman second baseman Derek Toadvine (Springfield, Ohio) matched his career high by going 3-for-4 with a triple, three RBIs and two stolen bases to lead the offensive onslaught. Then-sophomore center fielder Evan Campbell (Beloit, Ohio) and then-redshirt junior left fielder Joe Koch (Youngstown, Ohio) each added two singles while junior first baseman Travis Shaw (Washington Court House, Ohio) went 2-for-4 with a triple. Then-Sophomore catcher Jason Bagoly (Austintown, Ohio) and then-sophomore first baseman George Roberts (Summerhill, Pa.) stepped up and produced clutch performances to help Kent State outlast Pittsburgh, 9-5, on April 6 in a non-conference game at Olga A. Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium. The Golden Flashes overcame a one-run deficit in the bottom of the seventh, then tacked on four more insurance runs in the following frame to down the Panthers (16-11, 3-3 Big East). Bagoly was batting .175 while Roberts was hitting at a .077 clip entering the game, but Bagoly finished 4-for-5 with a double, two RBIs and a run scored, and Roberts collected three singles. Then-junior starting righthander Ryan Mace (Tallmadge, Ohio) sat down the Panthers in order in the first and third, forced a double play to end the fifth and did not allow a base runner to advance past second in any of the innings. Mace departed the game with a no decision after five frames, allowing three hits with one walk while fanning one.
• Pitt has lost four straight -- including a tough sweep at the hands of Notre Dame in its Big East series opener last weekend (March 23-25) in South Bend, Ind. The Panthers dropped two one-run affairs (6-5 on March 23; 3-2 on March 24) and lost the Sunday (March 25) contest, 7-5.
• Seven Golden Flashes hail from Western Pennsylvania, including senior shortstop Jimmy Rider (Venetia, Pa.), senior catcher David Lyon (Emporium, Pa.), junior first baseman George Roberts (Summerhill, Pa.), redshirt freshman right-handed pitcher Eric Dorsch (Gibsonia, Pa.), freshman outfielder Alex Miklos (Grove City, Pa.), freshman catcher Jeff Revesz (Grove City, Pa.) and freshman right-handed pitcher Jason Revesz (Grove City, Pa.).
Kent State continues midweek non-conference action with two games this week, hosting fellow Mid-American Conference member Toledo in a Tuesday (March 27) non-conference battle at Olga A. Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium before traveling to the Steel City Wednesday (March 28) to battle Pittsburgh at Charles L. Cost Field. Both contests are slated to begin at 3 p.m.
The Golden Flashes (11-10) will be looking to ride the momentum built on a 3-0 MAC opening series sweep of West Division foe Northern Illinois. Kent State bested Northern Illinois, 12-6, in its home opener Friday (March 23) and followed it up with a 6-1 Saturday (March 24) triumph and a 5-2 victory Sunday (March 25). The Flashes completed their first conference sweep since a 2-0 series win at Bowling Green (May 13-14, 2011) last season.
MEET THE STARTERS
Kent State will send redshirt sophomore left-handed pitcher Michael Clark (Akron, Ohio) to the mound for his home debut Tuesday against Toledo. Clark has made four appearances with one start in his first season as a member of the Golden Flashes as transferring to Kent State by way of North Carolina State. Clark played high school ball for American Heritage High School in Florida for head coach Todd Fitz-Gerald, posting a 9-1 record and a 2.36 ERA as a senior in 2009. He registered 78 strikeouts and held opposing hitters to a .198 batting average, earning second-team all-state honors. Clark transferred to American Heritage from Massillon High School for his senior year. He was selected by the Boston Red Sox in the 32nd round of the 2009 MLB First-Year Player Draft.
The Flashes will start senior righty Ryan Mace (Tallmadge, Ohio) on Wednesday at Pittsburgh. Mace makes his third start of the season. He has fanned 17 while walking just four but is in search of his first victory of the season. Mace sports a career record of 9-11 with an ERA of 5.60 in 45 appearances and 29 starts. He has fanned 121 over 172 innings.
HOME, SWEET HOME
Every baseball program in America will talk of the benefits of playing at home, but in its first seven seasons as Kent State's yard, Olga A. Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium has truly been a home-field advantage for the good guys and a house of horrors for the opposition.
The Golden Flashes claim a 113-37 mark at Schoonover for a winning percentage of .753.
KENT STATE BASEBALL AT OLGA A. MURAL FIELD AT SCHOONOVER STADIUM
2006: 17-5 (MAC Regular Season Champions)
2007: 17-5 (MAC Tournament Champions, NCAA Columbia Regional)
2008: 16-4 (MAC Regular Season Champions)
2009: 18-5 (MAC Tournament Champions, NCAA Tempe Regional)
2010: 13-6 MAC Tournament Champions, NCAA Los Angeles Regional)
2011: 18-3 (MAC Regular Season & Tournament Champions, NCAA Austin Regional)
Redshirt junior infielder Nick Hamilton (Avon Lake, Ohio), junior outfielder Evan Campbell (Beloit, Ohio) and junior infielder George Roberts (Summerhill, Pa.) combine to make up arguably the best trio of roommates in NCAA baseball.
Hamilton leads the Flashes with a .500 batting average in 13 games play. He led Kent State with a staggering .700 batting average, seven hits and five RBIs in the weekend series (March 3-4) at Western Kentucky. After sitting out Kent State's five-game California road trip to Pepperdine and Fresno State with an abdominal strain, Hamilton came off the bench to deliver the game-winning RBI single in the seventh inning as the Kent State baseball team dug deep to complete its MAC opening weekend sweep, downing Northern Illinois, 5-3, in a Techno Sunday (March 25) thriller.
Campbell leads Kent State with 33 hits and 15 runs scored and ranks second with a .413 batting average. He was named MAC East Division Player of the Week after he batted .500 with seven hits and drove in six runs to help Kent State win the weekend series at Lipscomb, 2-1. Campbell powered Kent State to the victory at New Mexico State last Friday, matched his career high for hits in a single game with five. He also collected five hits on May 14, 2011, to help push the Flashes to an 8-0 win at Bowling Green. Campbell smacked a leadoff home run in the bottom of the sixth for his first round tripper of the season and fourth of his career to go along with a single, two runs scored and two RBIs in the 12-6 victory over Northern Illinois Friday (March 23) in the team's conference and home opener. Campbell is tied with Roberts and senior shortstop Jimmy Rider (Venetia, Pa.) with a team-high 10 multi-hit games in 2012.
Roberts leads the Flashes with 17 RBIs and ranks third on the team with 27 hits and a .342 batting average. After beginning the 2011 campaign mired in a 0-for-23 slump, Roberts got his 2012 campaign off to a strong start, batting a team-best .538 with a team-high .692 slugging percentage, seven hits, two doubles and three RBIs in the Rock Hill Coca-Cola Classic. Roberts posted multiple hits in each contest, including going 3-for-5 with a double, two RBIs and a run scored to power Kent State's bats in the season-opening victory over the ninth-ranked Yellow Jackets on Feb. 17.
Senior shortstop and team co-captain Jimmy Rider (Venetia, Pa.) is as steady as they come, displaying his veteran savvy at the plate as well as his knack for making the extraordinary defensive plays look routine at shortstop.
Rider leads the Flashes with 13 doubles while ranking second in hits (30) and RBIs (13) and fourth with a .333 batting average. He was red hot on the California road trip, batting a team-high .476 with 10 hits -- including five doubles. Rider continued his solid hitting last weekend (March 23-25) against Northern Illinois, batting .333 with four hits -- including two doubles -- to go along with two RBIs and four runs scored. He has posted 10 multi-hit games this season and 88 over the course of his four-year career. Defensively, he is Kent State's career assists leader with 602.
WHAT SOPHOMORE SLUMP?
It is the goal of every collegiate student-athlete to avoid the dreaded sophomore slump, but a pair of second-year Kent State outfielders have completely bucked that trend in 2012.
T.J. Sutton (Uniontown, Ohio) is batting .313 to rank fifth on the team and has collected 15 hits -- including four doubles -- to go along with four RBIs and seven runs scored. Troy Summers (Minerva, Ohio) has started 14 of the 20 games he has played in and leads Kent State with 14 stolen bases. Both players enjoyed a solid series last weekend (March 23-25) at Northern Illinois. Summers batted .400 with four hits and four RBIs and two stolen bases while Sutton hit .333 with two doubles, two RBIs and three runs scored.
One of Kent State's biggest question marks heading into the season was how a young and relatively inexperienced bullpen would grow and mature while being tasked with trying to replace two of the greatest relievers in school history in right handers Kyle McMillen and Justin Gill.
Junior righty Casey Wilson (Sagamore Hills, Ohio) has answered the call so far. Kent State's 'fireman' has allowed just one earned run in nine appearances and has given up just seven hits and a walk while striking out nine. He picked up his first save of the season and fourth of his career after striking out a career-high five batters over the final two innings to close out the 7-4 triumph on March 9 at New Mexico State. Wilson earned his second straight two-inning save in Kent State's 2-0 series opening shutout at Pepperdine (March 16). He earned his third save of the season and seventh of his career by tossing a perfect ninth inning to preserve Kent State's 5-3 series sweep clinching victory over Northern Illinois Sunday (March 25).
Thirty NCAA baseball student-athletes who excel both on and off the field were selected as candidates for the 2012 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. Among the elite? Kent State senior co-captain and catcher David Lyon (Emporium, Pa.).
To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition. The complete list of candidates follows this release.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
The 30 candidates will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season, and those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, Division I head coaches and fans who will select one finalist who best exemplifies excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition.
Lyon put together a career season last year, posting a career-best .315 batting average, .384 on base percentage and .538 slugging percentage with a career-high 75 hits, 36 runs, seven triples (most on the team, second in the MAC; tied with Matt Rundels, 1991 for most in a single season in school history), nine home runs, 27 walks, 53 RBIs and 128 total bases (third on the team, fourth in the MAC). He also led Kent State with 404 putouts, the eighth most in a single season in school history. He earned 2011 ABCA/Rawlings NCAA Mideast Region Second Team and Second Team All-MAC honors for his efforts. He earned All-NCAA Championship Austin Regional honors after he produced perhaps the most memorable hit in Kent State history to help down then-No. 5 Texas, 7-5, on its home field as the Golden Flashes earned their first regional final berth since 2001. Trailing 2-1 with the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth, Lyon sent a 1-2 pitch sailing over the left field wall and into the Kent State bullpen to give the Golden Flashes a 5-2 lead with his second career grand slam. Lyon was named to the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team under Stricklin, who served as an assistant coach for the squad and helped the USA win three of five games against Japan.
Lyon ranks third on the team with 12 RBIs and fourth on the team with 23 hits. He helped Kent State to a 3-0 MAC opening series sweep of West Division foe Northern Illinois last weekend (March 23-25), batting a team-best .500 with a team-high five hits -- including a double and a home run -- to go along with three RBIs and three runs scored. Lyon belted his second round tripper of the season and 16th of his career with a two-run shot over the right field wall in the third inning to help power the Golden Flashes to a 6-1 win Saturday (March 24) to clinch the series win.
Check out Lyon's Lowe's Senior CLASS profile here.