Unlike the NCAA basketball tournament, it’s not one and done when it comes to college baseball. But after falling to the Louisville Cardinals 13-6 in their opening game in the Lubbock regional, the Kent State Golden Flashes now finds themselves in that exact spot with a Saturday contest against the New Mexico State Aggies in the double elimination tournament.
From the Kent State release:
Kent State plated six runs against highly touted Louisville lefty Adam Wolf, but couldn’t climb out of an early deficit in the NCAA Regional opener between the two and three seeds Friday night.
Kent State drew first blood thanks to one of Pete Schuler’s three hits on the game, but the Cardinals made it a short night for two-time Mid-American Conference Pitcher of the Year Joey Murray. U of L chased the Flashes’ righty in the second inning, but not before they’d tagged him for eight earned runs. Louisville – which has made three trips to Omaha in the last five years – added two more in the second to build a commanding 10-2 lead.
But Schuler brought KSU a little closer in the fifth when he blasted his first home run of the season – a three-run bomb to the opposite field to close the gap to 10-5. Unfortunately, however, the Cards’ bats were not to be quieted on a steamy night in West Texas, adding two in the sixth and one more in the seventh against the Kent State bullpen. The Flashes chased Wolf with their sixth run, but by that time the issue was no longer in doubt.
Nick Kanavas joined Schuler as the only two Flashes hitters with multi-hit games. Murray did strike out two, which allowed him to set a new single-season strikeout record for the MAC. He has struck out 141 on the season. It was also a return to form for reliever Robert Zeigler, who struck out two of the three hitters he faced in a solid eighth inning.
Kent State will now try to extend its season on Saturday when it faces New Mexico State in an elimination game at 3/2c.
For Kent State, they now face an Aggies team that took on the regional host squad, the Texas Tech Red Raiders, falling 9-2 to the 9th-ranked national seed. The Aggies won the WAC tournament this season and are a high-powered run-scoring offense.