The Kent State Tuscarawas baseball team got two much-needed wins and evened their season record by sweeping a matinee doubleheader from Ohio University Zanesville on a sun splashed Thursday afternoon at Fondriest Field. The Golden Eagles exploded for 17 hits in the first game as they won 22-12 in five innings, while they took a 1-0 decision in an extra inning second game.
The visiting Tracers struck first in the opener with three runs in the first frame, but the Golden Eagles scored four of their own in the home half of the inning to grab a 4-3 lead. The big blast of the inning was a double by Blaze Clark to score Kade Rainsberg, who reached by error, and Cade Cummings, who singled. Easton Guspyt then singled home Clark and Lucas Kail who had reached on an infield error.
OUZ added four more runs in the second for a 7-4 lead, before the Navy and Gold responded with a four spot of their own in the bottom half of the inning. Kyle Stotzer reached on a fielding error and stole second, Rainsberg walked and both moved up on sacrifice fly by Cummings which scored Stotzer. Clark doubled again, but pulled up lame on his way to second with a hamstring injury, literally hopping and diving into second ahead of the ball and was helped from the field. His replacement, Trevor Donaldson then scored on a single by Guspyt and Guspyt scored on a base hit by Austin Black as the Golden Eagles took an 8-7 lead that they would not relinquish.
After blanking the Tracers in the top of the third, the Eagles hung a five-spot on the them in the bottom of the inning with five timely hits. Kyle Turrentine singled in between two outs, and then the Eagles got three straight singles before Guspyt belted a two-run homer to right center field for a 13-7 cushion.
Each team added a pair of runs in the fourth inning and OUZ plated three more in the top of the fifth to draw closer at 15-12 before lightning struck once again for the Eagles. The first five KSU Tusc batters reached base safely with three walks and two singles to force home a run, before Cummings stepped into the batter's box and drilled a grand slam over the right centerfield fence to make the score 20-12. The home team was not finished however, and added two more runs after Cummings' blast for a 10-run lead and the mercy rule was enforced for a 22-12 victory.
Rainsberg was the winning pitcher for the Golden Eagles and Cummings was the leading hitter going 4/4 with a grand slam, triple, two singles and five RBIs. Guspyt was 3/4 with a two-run homer, two singles and three RBIs, Clark was 2/2 with a pair of doubles, Austin Black was 2/3 with two singles and 2 RBIs, and Luke Kail was 2/5 with two singles and three RBIs.
Game two was a very different story for both teams as they went to their starting aces on the mound. It was truly a pitcher's duel for its entirety which the Golden Eagles won 1-0 in one extra inning.
KSU Tusc stranded nine runners in the game and had three runners reach third base and two get to second, but could not bring them home. The biggest threat was in the home half of the seventh inning, when Austin Black started the inning with a single. He was safely sacrificed bunted to third by Zach Brannick, before Kyle Turrentine reached first on a throwing error by the Tracers shortstop and the Eagles had men on the corners with one out. Kyle Stotzer then hit a ball to deep short and the Tracers turned the double play as Stotzer was called out at first on a bang-bang play as Black crossed the plate with what could have been the winning run.
Cade Cummings set the OUZ batters down in order in the top of the eighth and set the table for the win in the bottom of the inning. Cummings continued his hot hitting day as he smashed a laser shot off the left field fence for a double, just missing a walk-off homerun by two feet. Trevor Donaldson was then hit by a pitch and Lucas Kail drew a free-pass to load the bases with no outs. Easton Guspyt battled with the Tracers pitcher and was in the hole, but smacked a one ball, two strike, pitch to deep right field for a single to score Cummings with the winning run.
Cummings was the winning pitcher for the Golden Eagles scattering just five hits. He was also the leading hitter with a double and scored the winning run. Easton Guspyt was 1/3 with the game winning RBI single.
The Golden Eagles now stand at 5-5 on the season.
Cade Cummings get congratulated for smacking a grand slam.
When the uniform color doesn't matter! Blaze Clark is helped off by OUZ's Ryan Rider and Coach Nathan Perks.
Easton Guspyt gets ready for the tag at third base.
Cade brings the split finger fastball to the plate.