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Kent State punches championship ticket, tops Eastern Michigan

Top-seeded Golden Flashes needed 8th inning heroics to topple the Eagles

The no. 1 seed Kent State Golden Flashes used late inning theatrics to overcome miscues to earn a 4-2 win over the No. 8 seed Eastern Michigan Eagles to advance to Sunday's MAC Baseball Championship Game. Kent State scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, after surrendering an unearned run in the top of the eighth on two errors to give Eastern Michigan a late 2-1 lead.

The game ended at 12:45 am Sunday morning as the Golden Flashes offense exploded for three runs sparked by Conner Simonetti's home run and Dom Iero's game-winning double. With the win Kent State advances to Sunday's MAC Baseball Championship Game and will face Western Michigan at 1:30 pm ET.

Kent State opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning as Luke Burch doubled down the left field line. After advancing to third Burch scored as Zarley Zalewski reached base as Eagles first baseman John Montgomery's fielding error for the early 1-0 lead.

Eastern Michigan's Jeremy Stidham homered down the left field line to open the top of the sixth inning to tie the game, 1-1.

The Eagles took the lead in the top of the seventh inning as two Kent State errors led to the go ahead run. Mitchell McGeein led off the inning by reaching base and advancing to second on a fielding error by Kent State's Josh Hollander. Two batters later, Michael Mioduszewski's grounder to short was fielded by Hollander, however his throw went over the head of first baseman Conner Simonetti and allowed McGeein to score for the Eagles' 2-1 lead.

Kent State responded in the bottom of the eighth inning as Conner Simonetti homered to left center to tie the game, 2-2. Zalewski followed with a walk and was the last batter Eagles' pitcher Marsinek would face. Sam Delaplane entered and threw a wild pitch to advance Zalewski to second base. Jake Neuschaefer pinch ran for Zalewski. Dom Iero followed with a double down the right field line to score Neuschaefer for the 3-2 lead. Hollander's single to short allowed Iero to come around to score for a 4-2 victory.

Kent State starting pitcher Joey Murray threw eight innings for the win and allowed two runs on three hits with 11 strikeouts. Zach Willeman earned the save as he pitched the ninth inning.

Eastern Michigan starting pitcher Kevin Shul went five innings and allowed one run, unearned, on four hits and three strikeouts. Michael Marsinek came on in the sixth inning and pitched two innings and allowed two runs on two hits. Sam Delaplane pitched one inning with one earned run on two hits and two strikeouts.