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September 29, 2023

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Flashes golden in sweep

Kent State thoroughly outplayed, and often downright embarrassed, the Falcon baseball team this weekend in a three-game Mid-American Conference series.

The Golden Flashes (21-15, 7-5) came into Steller Field on Friday several games back of first-place BG. By the time their bus pulled away yesterday afternoon, those roles had pretty much been reversed.

The Falcons (17-16, 6-6) surrendered all three games without much of a fight, as Kent outscored their faltering opponents 32-5 in the three games combined.

Frank Berry got the start for the Falcons on Friday, but suffered his first loss of the season after he gave up seven earned runs in 5 1/3 innings. Kent’s starting pitcher, Brad Stillings, gave his team a slightly better outing. BG managed only two earned runs off Stillings in seven complete innings.

‘He was aggressive in the strike zone, and defensively we turned some double plays to get him out of some jams,’ said Kent coach Scott Stricklin. ‘Bowling Green had been swinging the bats well, and they did so again Friday, but we were fortunate to make the plays.’

Friday’s final score was 11-3 in favor of the Golden Flashes, and Stricklin had a simple explanation for his team’s effectiveness at the plate.

‘When we got guys on, we got them in,’ Stricklin said, whose team left only four runners on base in Friday’s opener.

Kent put even more runners on, and then put them across the plate, early in Saturday’s win.

So many, in fact, that the top half of the first inning took 30 minutes to complete.

BG starter Kevin Light walked Chris Tremblay to start the game. Doug Sanders singled. Anthony Gallas homered. Greg Rohan singled. Jared Bartholomew walked. Ryan Mitchell singled.

Soon it was 8-0 Kent, without a single Falcon coming to bat, and the rout was on.

It didn’t help BG that Chris Carpenter started on the mound for the Golden Flashes that afternoon. The 6-feet-4-inch hurler was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in 2004, and the same size advantage that enabled him to become his school’s leading basketball scorer surely intimidated the Falcon offense on Saturday.

‘He’s probably our best prospect,’ Stricklin said. ‘He just has great stuff.’

Carpenter tossed seven scoreless innings, giving up two hits and two walks. Had his offense not taken up so much time scoring 15 runs to BG’s one, it is likely that he would have thrown a complete game shutout.

Instead, he settled for letting his offense pound out 20 hits, including three home runs, two doubles and two triples, to crush the Falcons 15-1.

Anthony Gallas hit two of those home runs, and added another yesterday. He attributes his recent success to a simple matter of punctuality.

‘Being on time and prepared in the on-deck circle has been key for me lately,’ Gallas said. ‘I didn’t think I did enough of that early in the year, but now I am.’

Such a simplistic approach paid great dividends for Kent, while BG was caught on their heels for nearly the entire weekend.

‘It was kind of like we were in awe of them,’ BG coach Danny Schmitz said. ‘You just can’t do that.’

The Falcons let Kent take it to them again yesterday. A final score of 6-1, another strong start by Kent hurler Kyle Smith, and another errorless game were in the books in just over two hours.

‘I can’t explain it,’ Schmitz said. ‘I give Kent State all the credit in the world. For whatever reason, we didn’t come out and play with the confidence that we should have.’

Kent now rides an 11-game winning streak and a first-place berth in the MAC East into this week’s non-conference tilts with Marshall and Duquesne.

BG, meanwhile, is left to pick up the pieces as they host Division III foe Albion tomorrow at 3 p.m.

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