April 27, 2011
Contact: Dan Carr
KENT, Ohio - The Cleveland State baseball team played Kent State tough for most of the game, but several pitching miscues in the sixth inning helped the Golden Flashes to a 6-3 win over the Vikings on Wednesday (April 27).
With the score tied, 3-3, entering the bottom of the sixth, Cleveland State pitcher Brian Lehto walked three batters and hit another, leading to two Kent State runs from which CSU never recovered. Lehto (0-1) did strike out one, but gave up a sacrifice fly that brought in what proved to be the game-winning run.
"We had one bad inning," head coach Kevin Kocks said. "That pretty much sums up the day. We played hard all day, and we played well enough to win, except for the sixth inning. We got behind in the count, gave up some bases, and Kent State took advantage."
The Vikings had held strong for most of the game, forcing Kent State to go three-up, three down in five of their eight defensive innings. Four of those three-and-outs were pitched by Brandon Cooper, who finished his time on the mound by retiring 10 consecutive batters. Making his first start of the season, Cooper gave up three runs on five hits, all in the second frame, and also had a strikeout.
The Golden Flashes had a 3-0 lead after the second frame, but it didn't hold for very long. With two outs in the top of the third, Jason Haditsch hit a single into right center. John Calhoun followed with a deep blast into left field that sailed over the wall for his home run as a Viking. The two-run shot changed the momentum of the game, as CSU quickly retired Kent State's first three batters in the bottom half of the inning before tying the game in the fourth on an RBI single from Matt Kirkwood.
Cleveland State had one last chance at a comeback in the ninth, and the Vikings got off to a good start, with Anthony Sambula, the inning's lead-off batter, getting on base with single into left field. Two batters later Alex Gnezda advanced him to second with a single of his own, and a wild pitch followed by a passed ball allowed Sambula to score. The rally didn't last, however, as three different Vikings struck out in the frame to end the game.
Calhoun was the top hitter of the day for CSU, finishing with two hits and two RBI in four at-bats. Tom Carter also had a hit for Cleveland State, which ended up tying Kent State on the day with seven hits. Both teams also were credited with an error.
The Vikings fall to 8-29 on the season while Kent State improves to 27-12. It was the first meeting of the season between the two teams, as a previously scheduled contest in Avon, Ohio on April 19 had to be postponed due to weather. While the two teams plan to make up that game, a date and time have yet to be announced.
CSU, meanwhile, will return to Horizon League play this weekend, playing back-to-back road double headers against Milwaukee on Saturday (April 30) and Valparaiso on Sunday (May 1). Both twinbills are scheduled to begin at 12:00 noon CDT (1:00 p.m. Cleveland time).