As the only undefeated team in the tournament, the Golden Flashes (35-19) are now just two wins away from winning the MAC championship. Bowling Green, the No. 1 seed, lost to Ball State, 20-11.
"We've put ourselves in great position," said Kent State coach Rick Rembielak. "Every other team here would love to be in our shoes."
A 25-mph wind gusting out to centerfield made Thursday's tournament games look more like a home-run derby. In the three games, Kent State, Central Michigan, Bowling Green, Ball State, Miami of Ohio and Eastern Michigan combined for 28 home runs. In the other game, Miami advanced in the loser's bracket with a 14-13 win over Eastern Michigan.
Kent State centerfielder Eric O'Brien blasted two of the Golden Flashes' seven homers, including a shot to center leading off the top of the first inning.
The fun was only just beginning. Kent State added back-to-back home runs by shortstop Brady Glass and right fielder Tom Martin to take a 4-0 lead in the first.
Phil LoCascio, Chad Kinyon and Eric Holick also homered to help Kent State's 19-hit attack.
After leading 8-1 through three innings and 9-3 through four, Kent State watched Central Michigan (30-24) battle back with a four-run fifth inning that included one of Keith Sampsell's two home runs.
However, the Golden Flashes broke the game open in the seventh and eighth innings, scoring four runs in each stanza.
Kent State starter Chris White pitched five innings to improved his record to 5-3. He combined with relievers Shane Curry, Ben Galbreath and Scott Diehl to hold Eastern Michigan to just eight runs on a day when every other team in the tournament scored in double figures.
The Golden Flashes arrived at the MAC Tournament fresh off a disappointing doubleheader split at Miami of Ohio that allowed Bowling Green to take over first place in the East Division on the season's final day. Kent Sate had been in first place all season.
"It was a little disappointing not to win (the division), and I think it took us a couple of days to recover," said Rembielak. "Our goal all season was not necessarily to win the division, but to put ourselves in position to win the tournament and get into the regionals."
Kent State couldn't be in a better position to accomplish that goal. The Golden Flashes play at 4 p.m. today against the winner of a 10 a.m. game between Bowling Green and Central Michigan. The loser of that game will be eliminated from the double-elimination tournament.
Miami plays Ball State at 1 p.m. with the winner advancing to the MAC championship.