Saturday, April 16, 2011

Kent State 9, CMU 3: Sloppy defense, pitching allow Golden Flashes to even series

By Anthony Fenech, Senior Reporter || April 16, 2011

The Chippewas are familiar with Kyle Hallock.

And on Friday, head coach Steve Jaksa even took it a step further.

“We’re very friendly with him,” he said. “He knows us well.”

Last season, as a junior, the Kent State starting pitcher beat Central Michigan in the regular season. He beat them in the postseason. And now, he’s beaten them in back-to-back seasons.

Hallock threw seven innings of three-run baseball on Saturday as the Golden Flashes won the middle game of a three-game set at Theunissen Stadium, 9-3.

“We knew that if we won today, we would win the series,” Jaksa said. “And we knew that they would battle like hell today because they didn’t want to lose the series.”

Four errors and nine walks allowed sunk the Chippewas and Kent State took advantage of those opportunities, plating eight of its nine runs with two outs.

“Anytime you give somebody that many opportunities,” Jaksa said, “there’s going to be a significant difference in how the game is played.”

Junior right-hander Zach Cooper struggled with his command throughout the afternoon, allowing six runs on six hits while walking five through four innings.

Four of Cooper’s runs allowed were unearned.

“It was a tough day today,” Cooper said. “I didn’t have my best stuff and just tried to fight through it.”

After allowing a single to Kent State left-fielder Joe Koch to start the game followed by back-to-back walks, Cooper almost fought his way through the first inning unscathed, striking the next two batters out before being called for a balk, scoring Koch.

He struck out the following batter to end the inning.

“I didn’t pause,” he said of the balk. “There was definitely a point there where I was upset because obviously I could have gotten through that inning without giving up a run.”

The Chippewas tied the game with two runs in the third inning, but Kent State responded with four of its own in the fourth inning.

“We gave them momentum we didn’t need to give them,” Jaksa said.

Golden Flashes shortstop Jimmy Rider had a two-run double in the fourth and finished 2-for-4 with three RBIs on the day.

CMU (17-18, 6-5 MAC) scored a run in the sixth before Kent State (23-11, 9-2 MAC) answered with a pair in the seventh and a run in the ninth to put the game out of reach.

Senior first baseman Brendan Emmett had three hits.

“We put ourselves in position,” Jaksa said. “But we couldn’t come all the way back today.”

The series wraps up Sunday afternoon as senior right-hander Jake Sabol (3-2, 3.32 ERA) puts his shutout streak on the line against Golden Flashes left-handed junior David Starn (5-1, 1.68).

First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m.

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