And we thought their basketball team's NIT run was going to be the most significant run this year. Temper your predictions!
The sports season isn't over since Kent State baseball has vanquished two better seeds in the NCAA Baseball Championship. This time it was a nail-biting victory over the fifth-ranked Texas Longhorns, 7-5.
The Flashes had a cushy five-run lead in the ninth but starter Andrew Chafin couldn't finish the game, going 8 2/3 innings. One thing led to another, yadda yadda yadda, and suddenly the winning run was on first base before closer Kyle McMillen put down the clamps for his second save in as many calendar says. And the big shot on offense was a David Lyon grand slam in the sixth inning along with an Evan Campbell single that plated two more runs.
So now Kent State gets a respite by "only" playing one game Sunday evening. They'll face either Texas or Texas State, who they've both beaten. And if Texas wins (which they should)? Gulp.
The 'Horns gained a whole bunch of confidence in that ninth. To lose 7-2 can eat away at young players' minds. But that three-run pinch-hit homer — it was Kevin Lusson's FIRST of the season — really changed the complexion of the game, even though the outcome was the same. I was convinced that Texas was going to come back and win, actually. And if that Lusson homer happens an inning sooner, it probably IS a comeback.
So sleep soundly, Flashes. You have two shots to win once more, and that's gotta feel good as well. And no pressure, guys, but: no MAC team has ever reached the "Super Regionals," which is what they would play in should they win one more game. The last College World Series team out of the Mid-American Conference was those 1976 Eastern Michigan Eagles, which featured that dynamite tandem of Bob Welch and Bob Owchinko. But anytime a MAC team makes it this far in any NCAA tournament, expectations are rarely on them. (Especially when having to beat Texas State AND Texas in Austin.) So let's see how far they can go on house money.