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Record-Courier staff report
The rain fell on Wednesday, but it didn't rain on Kent State baseball's parade.
The Golden Flashes raced seven runs across in the first inning to highlight a 10-2 victory over Youngstown State (9-8) in the home opener for KSU at Schoonover Stadium.
Kent State (9-8) returned home after opening the season with 16 road games.
"It's very nice to stay home and not have to get on a bus or a flight," said first-year Kent State head coach Jeff Duncan. "It's good to be in our home locker room and put on that home uniform."
The players were comfortable, too, jumping on the Penguins in their first at-bats in the bottom of the first inning.
Jon Wilson jumpstarted the rally with a leadoff walk, then eventually scored on a fielding error in centerfield after he had previously advanced on a groundout and wild pitch.
KSU's Zarley Zalewski then plated Justin Wagler, who had reached on the error, on a run-scoring double.
With two outs, T.J. Sutton drove Zalewski in on a base hit up the middle before Tommy Monnot smacked a double to left-center. The score bulged to 5-0 when Conner Simonetti also reached on an error.
With bases loaded, the top of the order came up again as Wilson tripled to empty the bases, making it a 7-0 Kent State lead after one inning.
Simonetti would return to the plate for his second at-bat in the bottom of the third, and he drove a home run over the left-centerfield wall. It was the first round-tripper of his college career.
"That was huge for him," Duncan said. "For him to do what he did today was a lot of fun to watch."
While Kent State's offense handled things at the plate, it was starting pitcher Andy Ravel who was maintaining order on the mound.
The freshman right-hander earned his second win of the year, delivering five innings that included only three hits allowed, no runs, one walk and four strikeouts.
Ravel was relieved in the sixth inning by Jared Skolnicki, another freshman, who pitched a shutout inning out of the bullpen.
Kent State will open Mid-American Conference play this weekend in a three-game series they will host at Schoonover Stadium against Toledo. The Flashes and Rockets will play one game on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.