The Kent State baseball team staged a pair of comebacks, but a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth inning allowed host Northern Illinois to salvage the final game of the weekend series with an 8-7 victory on Sunday.
The Golden Flashes (19-12, 7-2 Mid-American Conference) trailed 4-1 heading into the sixth, but scored two runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings to take a 7-6 lead. The Huskies (10-25, 6-6) countered with single runs in the eighth and ninth to snatch the victory.
Northern Illinois took advantage of Kent State starter Joey Murray's first rough start of the season. Murray had not allowed more than two earned runs in any start in 2017, but was tagged for four runs in just 2 1/3 innings on Sunday. He surrendered five hits and walked four while striking three.
Kent State's first comeback started with a two-run sixth inning. A sacrifice fly by Mason Mamarella cut the deficit to 4-3.
The Flashes tied the game in the seventh when Reilly Hawkins singled and Dom Iero doubled him home, then grabbed the lead at 5-4 on a sacrifice fly by Nick Kanavas.
The Huskies scored twice in the bottom of the frame to go back up by a run, but Kent State regained the lead with a two-run eighth that featured an RBI single by Pete Schuler.
Jacob Dunham homered off Flashes reliever Austin Havekost (0-2) to tie the game in the eighth, then Samuel Vega singled home the winning run in the ninth off Robert Zeigler -- KSU's fifth pitcher of the day.
Havekost suffered the loss, allowing two runs in 1 1/3 innings.
Luke Burch, Hawkins, Iero and Josh Hollander had two hits each for Kent State. Hawkins tripled, while Iero led the team with two RBI.
The Flashes will travel to Youngstown State on Tuesday for a 5 p.m. game and to Pittsburgh on Wednesday for a 6 p.m. contest before returning home next weekend for a three-game set with Toledo.