Kent State baseball advances in MAC tourney behind pitching of Kopcak

Record-Courier staff report Published:

Record-Courier staff report

The Kent State baseball team (34-21) removed a pesky thorn from its side and took control of its Mid-American Conference Tournament bracket with a 4-3 victory over top seed and regular season champion Ball State (39-17) Thursday night at All Pro Freight Stadium in Avon.

The Golden Flashes had lost six straight games to the Cardinals, including three during the 2014 regular season and two in last year's MAC tourney.

Former Streetsboro High School star Dan Kopcak was the hero of heroes for the Flashes, earning the save by retiring all 10 batters he faced.

The junior relief pitcher came on with runners on the corners and two outs in the sixth inning, and got out of the jam with a groundout. Kopcak then retired all three batters in the seventh on ground balls, got two strikeouts and a groundout in the eighth, then mowed down the final three hitters on two ground balls and a punch-out.

Senior Troy Summers drove in what proved to be the game-winning run with a two-out single in the fourth, while fellow seniors Cody Koch and T.J. Sutton each had RBI doubles for the Flashes.

Kent State will now play the winner of today's game between Ball State and No. 8 seed Western Michigan (23-30) on Saturday at 1 p.m. The Flashes would have to lose twice on Saturday to be eliminated.

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