Record-Courier staff report
Kent State squandered a 3-0 lead through five innings of play and went on to lose 5-4 to the visiting Youngstown State Penguins on Wednesday at Schoonover Stadium in Kent.
The Golden Flashes broke open a scoreless tie with three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, but turned right around to give up four to YSU in the top of the sixth inning to lose the lead.
Resilient, KSU plated a single run in the seventh to tie the score at 4-4, but Youngstown State (10-28) worked a run across in the ninth for the eventual final score.
"We need to do a better job, especially after we score runs, to put a zero up," Kent State head coach Jeff Duncan said. "I wasn't extremely happy with our at-bats one through nine."
Josh Pierce was credited with the loss and drops to 0-2 on the year for the Golden Flashes (28-16) in a game that featured seven Kent State pitchers.
Andy Ravel got the start for KSU and struck out four in three scoreless innings of work. The bullpen opened up and featured Jared Skolnicki (three strikeouts in two scoreless innings), Eli Martin (four earned runs in one-third of an inning), Spencer Bryant (two-thirds scoreless), Tim Faix (one inning scoreless), Pierce and Eric Dorsch (one inning scoreless).
Youngstown State's game-winning run was scored by Shane Willoughby, who had reached base on a single and scored on a sacrifice fly by Alex Larivee.
The big smash of the game, though, came on a grand slam for the Penguins in the sixth off the bat of Matt Sullivan. The blast brought home Brent Gillespie, Jason Shirley and Phil Lipari.
Of Kent State's four runs, only one was earned -- a solo homer by Cody Koch in the seventh inning.
The Flashes' three runs in the fifth were all unearned after Justin Wagler scored on a wild pitch, Sawyer Polen on an error by the catcher and Jon Wilson on a passed ball.
The loss was Kent State's first against a team outside of the Mid-American Conference since dropping a 3-2 game at the University of Michigan on March 16.
"We need to battle through this," Duncan said. "We have a big series coming up this weekend, and we need to look forward to turning it around."
The Flashes will open up a three-game homestand against the Northern Illinois Huskies on Friday at 6 p.m.