Kent earns comeback win over Ball State

AVON, Ohio -- Two weeks ago, the Kent State baseball team found themselves on the wrong end of three straight losses to the Ball State Cardinals, but the Golden Flashes got a measure of revenge in the 2014 Mid-American Conference Baseball Tournament at All-Pro Freight Stadium Thursday night.

After giving up three runs to the Cardinals in the bottom of the first inning, the Golden Flashes scored twice more and claimed a 4-3 victory.

"It was a great team win," Kent State coach Jeff Duncan told the Kent State Radio Network. "Everybody did a great job. (Dan) Kopcak did an outstanding job coming in for (Nick Jensen-) Clagg, who really battled too after that first inning. He really settled in and did a good job. It's just a great job for us. I told these guys, 'We've still got a long way to go, but let's enjoy this one tonight.'"

Kopcak added, "This was huge for us. We didn't play our best baseball there. We played hard, played a few good games, but it just didn't work out our way. Coming out here and getting this win was real big for us. We were going 100 percent, everything we could do to win this game."

By winning against the Cardinals, the Golden Flashes get Friday off and will not play again until Saturday afternoon, when they will take on either the Western Michigan Broncos or Ball State.

"It was a big win," Duncan said. "Tomorrow, we're going to get in the weight room and practice, and maybe, go see something in Cleveland. We might go to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame or something to keep them busy and enjoy the day, and then, get back to work on Saturday."

Redshirt senior first baseman Cody Koch said the day off will be nice, but the Golden Flashes will not let the hiatus affect their approach for the rest of the tournament.

"I'll make sure they stay focused on our day off because it'll be really easy to play it off and think, 'Oh, we're up 2-0. It's going to be easy,' but we still have two tough, hard games left before we're actually able to do anything great," Koch told the Kent Radio Network.

"It puts us in a good position going out in the rest of the tournament. Being up 2-0, we came out wanting to get revenge on these guys for what they did to us at their place, where we should've won two, that just drove us even more today just to be ready for everything."

Despite struggling through the first inning, Kent State starter Nick Jensen-Clagg settled in and allowed only one more run over his next 4.2 innings of work. He threw well enough to earn his fifth victory of the season.

Then, in relief, Kopcak threw 3.1 innings of no-hit, scoreless baseball.

"It was outstanding," Duncan said of Kopcak's outing. "His stuff, tonight, was outstanding. The way he competed, and the way he wanted the baseball, after he was done with that eighth inning, I asked him, 'Do you want this baseball in the ninth?'

"He said, 'Absolutely,' and it was so cool to see in that ninth inning. It was an emotional win for all of us because they walked off on us twice at their place and we learned from it. We were resilient. You've got to make plays and we did."


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