Record-Courier staff report
Kent State (24-20) remained 7-0 all-time playing at All Pro Freight Stadium with a 7-5 non-conference win over Eastern Michigan (20-21) Tuesday night.
The combined pitching performance of Nick Jensen-Clagg, John Birkbeck and Eric Dorsch led the way for the Golden Flashes. The trio only gave up one earned run in the game with six hits, three walks and six strikeouts. Birkbeck earned his third win of the season and Dorsch closed it out to get his second save.
"I thought they were great," said head coach Scott Stricklin. "(Jensen-Clagg) worked with a good tempo and threw a lot of strikes. John Birkbeck, that might have been the best I've seen him throw since he's been at Kent State, so it's really encouraging. Eric Dorsch, that's the guy that we've been waiting on. To see him do that and finish that game like that is really encouraging, and it gave us a lift."
Kent State opened the game with three runs in the second inning. Bases were loaded when Tommy Monnot reached on a fielder's choice, Alex Miklos bunt singled and T.J. Sutton walked. Zarley Zalewski then singled home Monnot and Miklos, and Sutton scored on a throwing error to clear the bases.
Eastern Michigan answered with three of its own in the bottom of the third, all unearned runs after a two-out error. The Golden Flashes took the lead back in the fourth on a bases-loaded walk by Sawyer Polen before the Eagles tied it again in the fifth.
Kent State took the lead for good by posting a three-run seventh frame. Back-to-back doubles by Miklos and Sutton plated the first run before Justin Wagler came off the bench and slapped a triple to right center. Wagler scored on an RBI single by Derek Toadvine.
Toadvine led the way offensively with three hits in five at-bats. He also walked and picked up an RBI. Polen, Miklos and Zalewski all ended the night with two hits each.
"It's always great to win, but we've got to work on things," Stricklin said. "We lost focus a couple of times and gave them a few runs, and that just can't happen."
The Flashes will make a quick turnaround to play at Youngstown State today at 3 p.m.
"We're a good team, we want to be great and our expectations are to be great," said Stricklin. "We have a ways to go to get there, but we're going to keep working."