Kent State takes their first step to the College World Series tonight, defeating Oregon 7-6 with a couple of insurance runs to hold on to the lead and the win.
Leading 5-4 after seven innings, George Roberts was the first strikeout when Alex Keudell looked like he finally got his rhythm going. That would be his last out of the game.
T.J. Sutton doubled afterwards, and that would be Keudell’s last batter of the night. Keudell finished giving up nine hits and six runs (only two earned), striking out four Golden Flashes later in his outing.
Nick Hamilton struck out next, leaving Kent State with Sutton on second with two outs. With closer Jimmie Sherfy coming in after that, no more runs for the Golden Flashes right?
After Sawyer Polen walked, Alex Miklos hit a gapper that eventually made him safe at third base thanks to an error by Aaron Jones, but the damage was already done when Sutton and Polen waltzed in to make it a 7-4 run lead.
Oregon fans had relief when Sherfy retired the last four batters for Kent State and started a rally in the bottom of the ninth when the top of the order came up. After the bases were loaded with Jones at third, Ryon Healy at second, and Brett Thomas at first, Kyle Garlick later struck out swinging for the first out of the inning.
Ryan Hambright, last weekend’s regional MVP, hit a sacrifice fly for Jones who closed the gap to 7-5. Andrew Mendenhall later pinched hit for Vernell Warren, who walked in Healy after a terrific at-bat sequence and shortened the lead to 7-6.
J.J. Altobelli then had bases loaded to force more innings or get the victory, but on the first pitch he hit what looked like a gapper to center fielder Evan Campbell, ending the rally and forcing Oregon to win the next two games if they want to get to Omaha and the College World Series.
The series continues tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. PST, with Kent State having the one-game lead and one win away from their first-ever trip to Omaha for the College World Series.
Topics: Alex Keudell, Andrew Mendenhall, Brett Thomas, College World Series, Evan Campbell, George Roberts, J.J. Altobelli, Jimmie Sherfy, Kent State Golden Flashes, Kyle Garlick, NCAA Baseball, Ncaa Championships, Nick Hamilton, Oregon Ducks, Ryan Hambright, Ryon Healy, Sawyer Polen, Super Regionals, T.j. Sutton, Vernell Warren