RECORD-COURIER STAFF REPORT
Every time Buffalo plated a run, Kent State seemed to find a bigger answer as the host Golden Flashes pulled out a Mid-American Conference series win with a 7-4 victory on Sunday.
"Those first six innings today, their guy threw a gem," KSU coach Jeff Duncan said. "He was outstanding. We made a really good adjustment in the sixth inning and started getting to him, and we won that game in the sixth inning on basically. We played really good baseball from then on. It was a good win for us."
With win Kent State improves to 25-13 overall and 11-4 in the MAC, good for a two-game lead over Akron in the East Division.
Like in every game this weekend, the Bulls (17-14, 8-6) got on the scoreboard first with a run in the third. But Sawyer Polen found some boom in his bat as he homered to tie the game in the bottom of the inning.
Buffalo would grab a short lead in the sixth with an unearned run, but Kent State had a big answer.
The home side of the frame was ignited again by Polen, who led off with a double and scored on a double by Alex Miklos to tie the game at two.
"Sawyer Polen was so big for us," said Duncan. "To see him go ahead and get us kick-started with that home run and two doubles really got us going. It was outstanding to see. He works extremely hard."
Justin Wagler then blasted a shot to dead center for an inside-the-park home run that put the Flashes up 5-2.
The Bulls cut the lead to one by scoring a pair in the seventh, but the Flashes added runs in the seventh and eighth innings to secure the victory.
Junior hurler Brian Clark was very sharp in the start to earn the win. The former Stow High School star began the game with two strikeouts in the first, retiring all three batters on just seven pitches. Clark went six innings, allowing four hits and two earned runs with three walks and seven strikeouts.
"Brian Clark had a really good start again," said Duncan. "It's the fifth or sixth start in a row now where he's been really good. Then our bullpen hung in there, too."
Junior closer Eric Dorsch got his second save in as many days and eighth on the season with a 1-2-3 ninth frame.
"Dorsch did his thing," Duncan said. "He's a very dominant pitcher, and he's got unbelievable potential on that mound. It's good to have him in the back end of that bullpen."
Polen followed his home run and double with a ground-rule double in the seventh to end the day a perfect 3-for-3, while Cody Koch went 2-for-3 with a triple.
The Flashes finish their current homestand with a pair of midweek games, hosting Penn State on Tuesday and Malone on Wednesday. Both games will start at 6 p.m.