Kent State baseball tops rival Akron 3-0 to win MAC tourney title

Published:

Record-Courier staff report

AVON -- The Mid-American Conference Tournament championship game had a little bit of everything and everything you would hope for in a title game featuring two rivals.

Kent State would go on to win the crown with a 3-0 victory over the Akron Zips, but not before a pitchers duel, superb defense and a couple of calls that could have gone either way.

With the win, the Golden Flashes secured a berth into the NCAA College World Series' regional level, which will send them to Louisville on Friday at 6 p.m. to face the top-seeded Cardinals.

The win also allowed the KSU baseball program to extend its streak of winning either the MAC regular season or tournament title in 14 of the last 15 seasons. It is also the Flashes' ninth regional berth in the last 14 years.

Michael Clark had a brilliant start on the mound, delivering 62⁄3 innings of shutout baseball. He allowed four hits, gave up one free pass and struck out three.

He was matched, though, by an impressive performance from the Zips starter Pat Dyer, who pitched into the eighth inning.

John Fasola eventually earned the win for the Flashes. He pitched 21⁄3 innings out the bullpen and gave up just one hit.

Zeros covered the scoreboard until the bottom of the eighth, when Kent State was able to clinch the victory.

Jon Wilson began the inning with his fourth base hit of the day and Cody Koch was intentionally walked for the second straight time before Zarley Zalewski came up with the biggest hit of the day -- a two-RBI double to right-center.

Curtis Olvey then singled Zalewski home to give the Flashes' their third run in the game.

Koch hit .500 in the tournament's four games to earn MVP honors. Zalewski, Wilson, Fasola and Brian Clark were also named to the 2014 MAC All-Tournament Team.

Kent State defeated Bowling Green (6-2), Ball State (4-3) and Western Michigan (12-2) to advance to the title game.

Akron advanced to the champinoship game after defeating Central Michigan (9-6) and a pair of wins over Buffalo (7-1 and 5-4).

Kent State's win improved the team to 36-21 overall. Remarkably, it was the 15th consecutive that the program registered at least 35 wins during the season.

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