Record-Courier staff report
BOWLING GREEN -- The Kent State baseball team's quest to win its sixth straight Mid-American Conference weekend series began with Friday's 7-5 road victory over the Bowling Green Falcons.
The win for the Golden Flashes came after the team scored three runs in the top of the eighth inning to erase a 5-4 deficit.
All three runs in the inning were produced by the bat of Cody Koch, who ripped a home run to left field that plated Alex Miklos and Jon Wilson.
Koch finished the game going 3-for-4 at the plate, adding a double and single to his round-tripper. Additionally for the Flashes, Wilson, Miklos and T.J. Sutton all had two hits each and all scored one run.
On the mound, Kent State (28-13, 12-4 MAC) starter Eric Lauer threw 42⁄3 innings. He gave up six hits, four runs, five walks and he struck out four.
In relief of Lauer, Streetsboro High School graduate Dan Kopcak entered from the bullpen and pitched three innings to earn the win. He gave up one run, but it was unearned.
Tim Faix (one-third of an inning) and Eric Dorsch came in to close the door on the Falcons (17-20, 8-8), with Dorsch collecting his 10th save of the year.
The two teams will meet again today, with the first pitch scheduled for 1:05 p.m. in Bowling Green.
KENT STATE SOFTBALL SPLITS DOUBLEHEADER WITH NORTHERN ILLINOIS
Kent State pulled out a thrilling 12-inning victory to salvage a split of Friday's doubleheader at Northern Illinois.
After dropping the opening game 2-0, the Golden Flashes (22-16, 8-4 MAC) topped the Huskies 7-5 in game two.
Starting pitcher Ronnie Ladines recorded a no-decision in the second game, but certainly played a large role in its outcome.
Ladines delivered a clutch two-out single that scored a pair of runs in the top of the 12th inning. The game-winning hit capped a career game at the plate for the freshman, who went 3-for-6 with two home runs and five RBI.
"I was happy that we were able to battle back to win the second game," Kent State head coach Karen Linder said. "The lower half of our lineup came through offensively and Ronnie had a big game at the plate."
The game headed to extra innings after Northern Illinois (20-25, 8-8) scored twice to tie the game at 5-5 in the bottom of the seventh inning. The Flashes walked home the tying run, but managed to escape the bases loaded jam and extend the game.
Kent State never trailed and got on the board first on a solo home run by sophomore Erika Warren in the third inning. The Flashes took a 3-0 lead in the next inning when Ladines hit a blast over the fence in center to help her own cause.
Ladines was perfect in the circle through four innings, but ran into trouble in the fifth.
After allowing back-to-back singles to start the inning, Ladines was aided by senior Caitie Kilbane's unassisted double play. NIU's Jordyn Bowen followed with a two-run homer.
A hit-batter and another Huskies single spelled the end of the day in the circle for Ladines. Senior Lauren McNeil entered and the first batter she faced singled to tie the game at 3-3. McNeil struck out the next batter to end the inning.
Kent State regained the lead on Ladines' second homer in the top of the sixth.
Junior Emma Johnson (13-8) was the winning pitcher of the Flashes. Johnson threw six innings after entering one batter into the seventh. Johnson allowed just one run on three hits to go with eight strikeouts.
In game one, Kent State was shutout for the first time since Feb. 22, which was a 1-0 loss in nine innings to Michigan.
Today, the Golden Flashes travel to Western Michigan to open up a two-game series. Today's game begins at 1 p.m. and Sunday's game also begins at 1 p.m.