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Kent State Golden Flashes baseball

The Kent State Golden Flashes baseball team is a varsity intercollegiate athletic team of Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, United States. The team competes at the Division I level of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) as a member of the Mid-American Conference. The head coach is retired Major League Baseball player Jeff Duncan, who was hired in June 2013.

Kent State Golden Flashes
Kent State baseball.svg
UniversityKent State University
Head coachJeff Duncan (7th season)
East Division
LocationKent, Ohio
Home stadiumSchoonover Stadium
(Capacity: 1,148)
NicknameGolden Flashes
ColorsNavy Blue and Gold[1]
College World Series appearances
NCAA Tournament appearances
Conference tournament champions
Conference champions
1964 • 1992 • 1993 • 1994 • 1996 • 2000 • 2003 • 2006 • 2008 • 2011 • 2012 • 2013 • 2016 • 2017 • 2018

Baseball was established at Kent State in 1914 and the team was known as the "Normal Nine". It is the second-oldest athletic team at Kent State University after the men's basketball team. Kent State began play in the Mid-American Conference in 1951, winning their first conference title in 1964 and making their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Through the 2018 season, the Flashes have won 15 Mid-American Conference regular-season titles, 12 MAC tournament titles, 12 MAC East division titles, and have made 14 NCAA tournament appearances. The 2012 season marked the team's first appearance in the College World Series.

Home games are held at Schoonover Stadium, the team's home field since 1966. The stadium, previously known as Gene Michael Field, was renovated in 2005 and received additional upgrades in 2007, 2008, and 2013. Additionally, the Flashes have an indoor practice facility, the David and Peggy Edmonds Baseball and Softball Training Facility, which opened in 2014. Kent State has produced a number of players who have gone on to play professionally at the Major League level, including Thurman Munson, Andy Sonnanstine, Emmanuel Burriss, and Dustin Hermanson.


The team was established in 1914 at the new Kent State Normal School, which was established in 1910 and had its first classes in 1912 at temporary locations. The new campus opened in May 1913. The team is the second intercollegiate athletic team at Kent State, formed just after the men's basketball team, which was established in late 1913. H.E. Nickerson served as manager and William Brown was captain of that first team in 1914. No records of any games are available, though a photo of that team, labeled as the "Ex Temporé Base Ball Team", exists from that season.[2] The following year, the "Normal Nine", coached by school custodian Alexander Whyte, played their first recorded intercollegiate games, opening the season with a 7–6 win over Baldwin Wallace College in Kent. The team finished 1–3 that season and games were held on an informal field in front of the campus, which is now largely occupied by Rockwell Hall.[3][4] Alf Lovall coached the team to a 1–2 record in 1916 and Paul Chandler led the team to a 3–0 record in 1922. The records for the 1917–21 and 1923–25 seasons are incomplete, though it was during the 1923 season that the various Kent State Normal College teams began being referred to as the Silver Foxes. The team also began play at Rockwell Field around 1920, their home field through the 1941 season.[5]

In 1927, the current "Golden Flashes" name debuted and Merle Wagoner, who also coached the football team from 1925–32, became the Flashes' first long-term coach from 1926–33 leading Kent State to a record of 27–34 in his eight seasons.[6] The Flashes were coached by Gus Peterka for the 1934 and 1935 seasons, Donald Starn for the 1936–1938 seasons, and John Starrett for the 1939–1942 seasons leading up to World War II. During the war years, 1943–1945, Kent State did not field any varsity athletic teams, but resumed in 1946.[7] Wesley Stevens served as head coach for 1946 and 1947 before Matt Resnick took over in 1948. He served as Kent State's coach for the longest tenure to date, from 1948 through the 1961 season compiling an overall record of 132–100–1 and 50–50 in the Mid-American Conference.[5]

Mid-American ConferenceEdit

Steve Stone, Cy Young Award winner.

Kent State joined the Mid-American Conference in 1951 and baseball began play in the conference in early 1952, finishing third with a 5–4 record in MAC play. Under Matt Resnick, the Flashes reached third place in 1959 with an 8–3 conference record and second place in Resnick's final season in 1961 with a conference record of 9–2. Dick Paskert took over beginning in 1962 and guided the Flashes to their first MAC regular-season title in 1964 finishing in a tie with the Ohio Bobcats at 10–1. Kent State defeated the Bobcats 6–3 in a playoff game for the Flashes' first NCAA tournament berth, where they were eliminated by the Minnesota Golden Gophers.[8] Paskert would coach through the 1971 season with an overall record of 103–116–4 and 45–59–1 in the MAC. During his tenure he coached notable players such as Thurman Munson, Gene Michael, Rich Rollins, and Steve Stone, as well as future college football and NFL coach Nick Saban, who was also a member of the Golden Flashes football team.[9] Art Welch took over the head coaching position from 1972–1981 and was succeeded by Bob Morgan (1982–1983) and Bob Todd (1984–1987) before Danny Hall was hired for the 1988 season.[5]

Danny HallEdit

Danny Hall coached the Flashes from 1988 through the 1993 season. During his tenure, Kent State won its first MAC championship since 1964 by capturing the 1992 and 1993 regular-season and tournament titles and advancing to the NCAA Tournament both years.[5] In the 1992 NCAA Tournament regional played in Tallahassee, Florida, the Flashes won their first-ever NCAA Tournament game defeating the Georgia Bulldogs 5–2. Kent State fell in their next two games versus Western Carolina University and Florida State to finish 1–2. The Flashes returned to the NCAA regionals the following year playing at Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Kent State finished 2–2 that season with wins over eventual national champion Louisiana State and Western Carolina.[8] Hall left after the 1993 season to take the head coaching job at Georgia Tech with an overall record of 208–117 and 106–73 in the MAC at Kent State.[5][10]

Rick RembielakEdit

Rick Rembielak took over the program beginning in the 1994 season, winning the MAC regular-season in his first season and qualifying for the NCAA tournament. During his 11 seasons at Kent State, the Flashes also claimed an overall MAC title in 1996, East Division titles in 2000 and 2003, and MAC Tournament titles in 2001, 2002, and 2004.[8] Kent State returned to the NCAA Tournament regionals in 2001 at Columbus, Ohio, posting a 2–2 record with wins over host Ohio State and Delaware. The Flashes played in the 2002 and 2004 tournaments, both played at South Bend, Indiana, going 0–2 and 1–2 respectively.[8] Rembielak stepped down after the 2004 season to take the head coaching job at Wake Forest University. He had an overall record at Kent State of 373–251–1 and 200–100 in the MAC.[5][10]

Scott StricklinEdit

2010 game against Bowling Green at Schoonover Stadium

Beginning in the 2005 season, Kent State alumnus Scott Stricklin took over the program after previously serving as pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at Vanderbilt University from 2000–01 and serving as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator under former KSU coach Danny Hall at Georgia Tech from 2002–04. Under Stricklin, Kent State won six MAC East Division titles (2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012), four MAC regular-season titles (2006, 2008, 2011, 2012), and five MAC Tournament championships (2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012).[10] The team has made five trips to the NCAA Tournament under Sticklin, including four consecutive from 2009–12. The Flashes earned their first tournament win under Sticklin in the 2009 tournament and advanced to their first regional final since 2001 in the 2011 NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament with wins over Texas State and host Texas.

In 2012, the Flashes won their fourth consecutive MAC Tournament title and advanced to the 2012 NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament. The Flashes first won the Gary Regional as the region's third seed with a 3–0 record, which began with a 7–6, 21-inning win over Kentucky in the 2nd longest game in tournament history.[11] The win was followed by a 7–4 victory over host Purdue and a 3–2 win over Kentucky in the regional final.[12][13] The Flashes advanced to the Super Regional series in Eugene, Oregon, against host Oregon and won the series 2–1 with a series-clinching run in the bottom of the ninth inning of game three.[14] During the series, the team's winning streak reached 21 games before a 3–2 Oregon win in the second game of the series.[15] In the 2012 College World Series, after falling to Arkansas 8–1 in the opener, the Flashes defeated national top seed Florida 5–4.[16] A 4–1 loss to defending national champion and eventual 2012 runner-up South Carolina ended the Flashes' run, giving them a national fifth-place finish.[17] Kent State's appearance in the College World Series marked the first appearance by any Mid-American Conference team since the 1976 Eastern Michigan Eagles and first ever by a MAC team at both the Super Regional round and College World Series since the NCAA tournament expanded to 64 teams. The Flashes were also the first team from the state of Ohio to appear in the College World Series since the 1970 Ohio Bobcats.[18]

The Flashes have also continued to have multiple players drafted into the major leagues. In 1994, seven Kent State players were selected in the Major League Baseball draft and the Flashes have had players selected in every draft since 1990 except 1998, including six in 2009, five in 2011, and six in 2012[5] Through the 2012 season, Stricklin has a record of 314–165 (.656), which included a program best 47–20 mark in 2012 and a 45–17 record in 2011. He won his 200th game at KSU on April 9, 2010, at Oestrike Stadium in Ypsilanti, Michigan, 16–1 over the Eastern Michigan Eagles. Stricklin's 300th career win came May 14, 2012, with a 10–4 win over the Miami Redhawks in Kent.[10][19] Following the 2013 season where the Flashes won the regular-season MAC title, Stricklin was hired by Georgia as their head coach. Stricklin's record at Kent State is 350–188 (.651).[20]

Jeff DuncanEdit

Jeff Duncan was hired as head coach in June 2013.[21] In his first season, Kent State finished second in the MAC East Division, but won their 11th MAC Tournament title with a 3–0 win over arch-rival Akron in the championship game to advance to the NCAA Tournament. The following season, the Flashes won their 10th MAC East title, but were eliminated in two games at the MAC Tournament. Through the 2015 season, Duncan has an overall record of 65–45 and 34–20 in MAC play.[5]


Kent State has made 25 appearances in the Mid-American Conference Baseball Tournament, winning 12 titles through 2018. The tournament was first held in 1981 but discontinued from 1984 through 1991. The Flashes made their first appearance in the 1992 tournament, which was also their first tournament title, and have qualified for every tournament since then except 2005. From 1981 through 1983 and 1992 through 1997, the tournament included only the top four teams in the conference. It was expanded to six teams in 1998 and eight teams in 2008 and remains a double-elimination format. Kent State has hosted the tournament seven times as the top seed between 1992 and 2007 after which the conference began using a neutral site. Through the 2018 tournament, the Flashes' overall tournament record is 70–34 (.673) and their 12 titles are the most in conference history.[5][8]

Mid-American Conference Baseball Tournament
Year Seed Location Round Result
1992 1st Gene Michael FieldKent, Ohio First W 2–1 over (4) Ball State
Semifinal L 7–6 to (3) Central Michigan
W 10–4 over (2) Ohio
Championship W 9–3 over (3) Central Michigan
W 3–1 over (3) Central Michigan
1993 1st Gene Michael FieldKent, Ohio First L 1–0 to (4) Ball State
W 6–0 over (2) Central Michigan
Semifinal W 5–4 over (3) Western Michigan
Championship W 8–1 over (4) Ball State
W 3–1 over (4) Ball State
1994 1st Gene Michael FieldKent, Ohio First L 1–0 to (4) Central Michigan
W 5–1 over (3) Bowling Green
Semifinal W 9–7 over Ohio
Championship L 5–4 (11) to (4) Central Michigan
1995 2nd Steller FieldBowling Green, Ohio First L 3–0 to (3) Central Michigan
W 5–2 over (1) Bowling Green
Semifinal W 16–3 over (4) Akron
Championship W 11–6 over (3) Central Michigan
L 7–4 to (3) Central Michigan
1996 1st Gene Michael FieldKent, Ohio First L 4–1 to (4) Akron
L 7–2 to (3) Toledo
1997 3rd Trautwein FieldAthens, Ohio First L 17–5 to (2) Ball State
W 9–6 over (4) Miami
Semifinal W 18–10 over (2) Ball State
Championship L 7–6 to (1) Ohio
1998 2nd-E Steller FieldBowling Green, Ohio First L 8–0 to (1W) Central Michigan
Second L 3–1 to (1E) Bowling Green
1999 3rd-E Steller FieldBowling Green, Ohio First L 4–1 to (1W) Ball State
Second W 7–5 over (3W) Western Michigan
Semifinal L 9–7 to (2E) Miami
2000 1st-E Gene Michael FieldKent, Ohio First W 10–4 to (3W) Northern Illinois
Second L 7–1 to (2W) Ball State
L 3–1 to (2E) Ohio
2001 4th Ball DiamondMuncie, Indiana First W 26–10 over (3) Ohio
Second W 5–1 over (5) Central Michigan
Semifinal L 10–9 to (6) Miami
W 13–3 over (1) Ball State
Championship W 9–8 over (6) Miami
W 8–3 over (6) Miami
2002 3rd Steller FieldBowling Green, Ohio First W 13–4 over (4) Ball State
Second W 18–8 over (5) Central Michigan
Semifinal W 2–0 over (5) Central Michigan
Championship L 16–9 to (4) Ball State
W 13–4 over (4) Ball State
2003 1st Gene Michael FieldKent, Ohio First L 4–3 to (6) Northern Illinois
Second W 3–2 (10) over (2) Ball State
Semifinal L 7–4 to (4) Eastern Michigan
2004 6th Theunissen StadiumMount Pleasant, Michigan First W 6–0 over (1) Central Michigan
Semifinal L 4–0 to (4) Ball State
W 10–6 over (3) Eastern Michigan
Championship W 7–4 over (3) Eastern Michigan
2006 1st Schoonover StadiumKent, Ohio First W 2–1 over (6) Eastern Michigan
Second W over (4) Western Michigan
Semifinal L 5–4(11) to (4) Ball State
W 11–1 over (5) Miami
Championship L 7–4 to (4) Ball State
2007 2nd Oestrike StadiumYpsilanti, Michigan First W 7–3 over (5) Northern Illinois
Second W 4–3 over (4) Miami
Semifinal W 3–2 over (1) Eastern Michigan
Championship W 3–2 over (1) Eastern Michigan
2008 1st V.A. Memorial StadiumChillicothe, Ohio First W 4–2 over (8) Central Michigan
Second W 10–6 over (4) Northern Illinois
Semifinal W 10–4 over (4) Northern Illinois
Championship L 12–4 to (2) Eastern Michigan
2009 4th V.A. Memorial StadiumChillicothe, Ohio First W 6–4 over (5) Miami
Second W 17–2 over (8) Central Michigan
Semifinal W 12–8 over (5) Miami
Championship W 5–3 over (6) Toledo
2010 2nd V.A. Memorial StadiumChillicothe, Ohio First L 12–4 to (7) Eastern Michigan
Second W 4–3 over (3) Toledo
Semifinal W 15–1 over (7) Eastern Michigan
W 9–8 over (7) Eastern Michigan
Championship W 5–3 over (1) Central Michigan
2011 1st V.A. Memorial StadiumChillicothe, Ohio First W 6–2 over (8) Bowling Green
Second W 5–4 over (4) Eastern Michigan
Semifinal L 4–2 to (4) Eastern Michigan
W 8–0 over (4) Eastern Michigan
Championship W 11–0 over (3) Miami
2012 1st All Pro Freight StadiumAvon, Ohio First W 9–0 over (8) Buffalo
Second W 12–3 over (5) Western Michigan
Semifinal W 8–3 over (8) Buffalo
Championship W 3–1 over (3) Central Michigan
2013 1st All Pro Freight StadiumAvon, Ohio First W 15–8 over (8) Central Michigan
Second L 3–1 to (4) Ball State
W 7–0 over (5) Miami
Semifinal L 4–1 to (4) Ball State
2014 4th All Pro Freight StadiumAvon, Ohio First W 6–2 over (5) Bowling Green
Second W 4–3 over (1) Ball State
Semifinal W 12–2 over Western Michigan
Championship W 3–0 over Akron
2015 2nd All Pro Freight StadiumAvon, Ohio First L 5–0 to (7) Western Michigan
L 6–3 to (6) Bowling Green
2016 1st All Pro Freight StadiumAvon, Ohio First W 1–0 over (8) Eastern Michigan
Second W 3–2 over (5) Toledo
Semifinal L 10–5 to (8) Eastern Michigan
W 4–2 over (8) Eastern Michigan
Championship L 12–7 to (7) Western Michigan
2017 1st Sprenger Stadium • Avon, Ohio First W 8–0 vs (8) Toledo
Second L 5–3 to (5) Ohio
W 6–3 over (8) Toledo
Semifinal L 7–2 to (5) Ohio
2018 1st Sprenger Stadium • Avon, Ohio Second W 8–7 over (4) Central Michigan
Semifinal W 7–2 over (2) Miami
Championship W 14–0 over (2) Miami
Totals: 18 championship game appearances, 12 titles, 70–34 record in tournament[8]

NCAA TournamentEdit

Kent State has participated in the NCAA Division I Baseball Championship 14 times, making their first appearance in 1964 when they hosted the eventual national champion Minnesota Golden Gophers in the regional round. They have qualified automatically as champions of the MAC for every NCAA Tournament appearance except 1994, when they were selected as an at-large team. Through the 2014 season the team has a 15–27 (.357) record in the tournament. The Flashes have one regional title and one super regional championship, both won in 2012.[5][8]

NCAA Division I Baseball Championship
Year Seed Location Round Result
1964 Memorial FieldKent, Ohio Regional L 7–4 to Minnesota
L 13–2 to Minnesota
1992 4th Dick Howser StadiumTallahassee, Florida Regional W 5–2 over (3) Georgia
L 14–1 to (5) Western Carolina
L 4–2 to (3) Florida State
1993 3rd Alex Box StadiumBaton Rouge, Louisiana Regional L 4–1 to (4) Baylor
W 15–12 over (1) LSU
W 8–5 over (6) Western Carolina
L 7–6 to (5) South Alabama
1994 3rd Mark Light FieldCoral Gables, Florida Regional L 11–6 to (4) Minnesota
L 4–1 to (1) Miami
2001 4th Bill Davis StadiumColumbus, Ohio Regional L 9–8 to (1) Mississippi State
W 9–8 over (2) Ohio State
W 12–11 over (3) Delaware
L 14–4 to (1) Mississippi State
2002 4th Frank Eck StadiumNotre Dame, Indiana Regional L 7–4 to (1) South Alabama
L 12–8 to (3) Ohio State
2004 4th Frank Eck StadiumNotre Dame, Indiana Regional W 2–1 over (1) Notre Dame
L 7–4 to (3) Arizona
L 7–1 to (1) Notre Dame
2007 4th Taylor StadiumColumbia, Missouri Regional L 10–2 to (1) Missouri
L 8–7 to (2) Miami
2009 4th Packard StadiumTempe, Arizona Regional L 17–6 to (1) Arizona State
W 10–9 over (3) Cal Poly
L 15–10 to (2) Oral Roberts
2010 4th Jackie Robinson StadiumLos Angeles Regional L 15–1 to (1) UCLA
L 19–9 to UC Irvine
2011 3rd UFCU Disch–Falk FieldAustin, Texas Regional W 4–2 over (2) Texas State
W 7–5 over (1) Texas
L 9–3 to (1) Texas
L 5–0 to (1) Texas
2012 3rd U.S. Steel YardGary, Indiana Regional W 7–6(21) over (2) Kentucky
W 7–3 over (1) Purdue
W 3–2 over (2) Kentucky
PK ParkEugene, Oregon Super Regional W 7–6 over (5) Oregon
L 3–2 to (5) Oregon
W 3–2 over (5) Oregon
TD Ameritrade ParkOmaha, Nebraska College World Series L 8–1 to Arkansas
W 5–4 over (1) Florida
L 4–1 to South Carolina
2014 4th Jim Patterson StadiumLouisville, Kentucky Regional L 5–0 to (1) Louisville
L 4–2 to (2) Kentucky
2018 3rd Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin ParkLubbock, Texas Regional L 13–6 to (2) Louisville
W 2–1 over (4) New Mexico State
L 12–6 to (2) Louisville
Totals: 14 tournament appearances, 1 regional title, 1 super regional championship, 16–29 record in tournament[5][8]


Through the 2017 season, Kent State has had 17 head coaches in program history. In the early years of the program, a number of the head coaches also served in the same capacity for another sport, with two coaches serving as head coach for three sports. Alexander Whyte, the head custodian of the school, was also the first head coach of the men's basketball team for two seasons, from 1913–1915. Paul Chandler, who was a professor of education at Kent State, was the first head coach of the football team and coached football for the team's first three seasons (1920–1922) and men's basketball for four seasons (1919–1923) in addition to his duties during the 1922 baseball season. Merle Wagoner, a professor in physical education, was head coach for all three teams—football, men's basketball, and baseball—at the same time for eight seasons from 1925–1933, while Starn coached football for eight seasons (1935–1942) in addition to his three seasons as baseball head coach from 1936–1938.[5][22][23]

There are no records of teams from 1917 through 1921 due to most male students being involved in World War I. This was repeated from 1943 through 1946 because of World War II. The 1923 and 1924 seasons are mentioned in the Kent State yearbooks, known as the Chestnut Burr, from 1924 and 1925, but no head coach or season results are included. There is no record of the 1925 season in the subsequent 1926 Chestnut Burr.[24][25][26]

Coach Years Seasons Overall MAC MAC championships NCAA
Win–Loss–Tie Percent Win-Loss-Tie Percent East Division Overall Tournament
Alexander Whyte 1914–1915
1–3 .250
Alf Lovall 1916
1–3 .250
No team, 1917–21 (World War I)
Paul Chandler 1922
3–0 1.000
1923 and 1924 seasons mentioned; no coach or records listed[24][25]
No results or team mentioned, 1925
Merle Wagoner 1926–1933
27–34 .443
Gus Peterka 1934–1935
9–5 .625
Donald Starn 1936–1938
18–9 .667
John Starrett 1939–1942
25–14 .641
Wesley Stevens 1947–1948
18–14–1 .561
Matt Resick 1949–1961
132–100–1 .569 50–50 .500
Dick Paskert 1962–1971
103–116–4 .471 45–59–1 .433 1964 Regional: 1964
Art Welch 1972–1981
132–215–3 .381 37–117–1 .242
Bob Morgan 1982–1983
79–39 .669 14–17 .452
Bob Todd 1984–1987
124–82 .602 65–54 .546
Danny Hall 1988–1993
208–117 .640 106–73 .592 1992, 1993 1992, 1993 Regional: 1992, 1993
Rick Rembielak 1994–2004
373–251–1 .598 200–100 .667 2000, 2003 1994, 1996,
2000, 2003
2001, 2002,
Regional: 1994, 2001,
2002, 2004
Scott Stricklin 2004–2013
350–188 .651 161–61 .725 2006, 2007,
2008, 2010,
2011, 2012,
2006, 2008,
2011, 2012,
2007, 2009,
2010, 2011,
Regional: 2007, 2009,
2010, 2011, 2012
Super regional: 2012
CWS: 2012
Jeff Duncan 2014–present
111–59 .653 54–24 .692 2015, 2016,
2016, 2017,
2014, 2018 Regional: 2014, 2018
17 coaches 91 seasons 1,771–1,268–10 .582 756–561–2 .574 12 MAC East
15 MAC
12 MAC
14 regional
1 super regional
1 College World Series


Schoonover Stadium stands in 2014

The Flashes home field is Schoonover Stadium, located on the southern edge of the Kent State campus. The team has played on the field since 1966. From 1990–2003, it was known as Gene Michael Field, named for the Major League Baseball player and manager who is a Kent native and played collegiately for the Golden Flashes. It was renamed for Kent State alumnus Hal Schoonover and his wife Julie in 2003 after the Schoonover Foundation donated $1.53 million to fund renovations. The field is named for local philanthropist Olga Mural after a $1 million donation in 2006. The 2005 renovations included new dugouts, a new scoreboard, replacement of the natural grass field with a FieldTurf playing surface, new bullpens, and a press box. Additional renovations in 2007 added chairback seating to the main grandstand, new restrooms, a concession stand, and a new locker room and player's lounge connected to the home dugout, followed in 2008 by a scoreboard upgrade. Following the team's run to the 2012 College World Series, permanent lights were added for the 2013 season. Prior to the 2014 season, a new parking area was built adjacent to the stadium along with a new entrance. Additional upgrades to the seating area are also planned as of 2015.[27][28][29]

Adjacent to the stadium is the David and Peggy Edmonds Baseball and Softball Training Facility, which was dedicated in October 2014. The building includes a large indoor space with pitching mounds and moveable batting cages and an artificial turf playing surface. A weight room and offices for both the baseball and softball coaching staffs are also located in the facility.[27][29][30]


Current Mid-American Conference teams (through 2018)[5]
Team Games Wins–Losses Percentage Streak
Ball State
Bowling Green
Central Michigan
Eastern Michigan
Northern Illinois
Western Michigan
Non-conference rivals[5]
Youngstown State
Dormant rivalries[5]
Team Games Wins–Losses Percentage Years
Cleveland State

The team's arch-rival was the Akron Zips from the University of Akron in Akron, Ohio. The two teams both played in the Mid-American Conference East division and are separated by approximately 10 miles (16 km). The series began in 1916 with a 12–1 Akron win in Kent, but did not become a conference game until 1993 when Akron joined the Mid-American Conference. What was the final game of the series was played May 16, 2015, a 3–2 Kent State win in 10 innings at Lee R. Jackson Baseball Field in Akron that clinched the season series for Kent State and the all-sports Wagon Wheel Challenge between the two schools.[31] The rivalry came to an unexpected end after the 2015 season when the University of Akron announced the baseball team would be eliminated because of budget concerns.[32] Through the 2015 season, Kent State leads the series 109–55–1, and won eight of the final ten meetings. The Zips and Flashes played three times in the Mid-American Conference Baseball Tournament, including the championship game of the 2014 tournament, a 3–0 Kent State win and the only time the rivals met in the tournament final. The win gave Kent State a 2–1 edge in tournament games, winning a 1995 semifinal game 16–3, while Akron won a 1996 first round game 4–1.[5][8]

From 2007 to 2015, the Zips and Flashes played in the annual Diamond Classic for Kids to benefit Akron Children's Hospital. The game was played at Canal Park in downtown Akron, the home of the AA-level minor league Akron RubberDucks. Leading up to the game, players and mascots from both schools visited children in the hospital, which overlooks Canal Park. The 2007, 2008, and 2009 games were all played in addition to the regularly-scheduled conference series and the game itself was a non-conference game. Beginning in 2010, the game was made part of the 3-game series regardless of which team was hosting in the given year and counted in the conference standings.[33][34]

Kent State's most frequent opponents through 2018 are long-time MAC rivals, with the Miami RedHawks being the most frequent at 196 meetings, followed by sister school Bowling Green at 189 games and the Ohio Bobcats at 183 games. Both Miami and Ohio were members of the MAC when Kent State started conference play in 1952 and Bowling Green joined the following season.[8]

Outside the MAC, the Flashes most common opponent is the Youngstown State Penguins of nearby Youngstown, Ohio, a member of the Horizon League. The two teams meet on a regular basis and typically play at least one game per season at each home field. The Flashes and Penguins have met 92 times, with Kent State holding a 70–21–1 edge in the series after taking both meetings in 2018.[5][35]

Kent State also had a regular rivalry with the Cleveland State Vikings that began in 1933 and spanned 88 games. The rivalry ended in 2011 after Cleveland State elected to discontinue their baseball program.[36] Kent State won the final meeting between the two teams 6–2, a game that was a home game for the Vikings, but was played in Kent at Schoonover Stadium due to a rainout and scheduling conflict at the original site.[5][37]



Through the 2016 season, Kent State has had 20 players named as first, second, and third team All-Americans by various collegiate baseball organizations and publications. Two players have been named consensus First Team All-Americans in program history, John Van Benschoten in 2001 and Eric Lauer in 2016. Lauer was also named National Player of the Year by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper in 2016.[38][39]

Name Year Team Organization
Thurman Munson 1968 First American Baseball Coaches Association
George Spiroff 1980 Third American Baseball Coaches Association
Jeff Tabaka 1986 Third American Baseball Coaches Association
Mike Gulan 1992 Third
American Baseball Coaches Association
Baseball America
Collegiate Baseball Newspaper
Matt Rundels Third American Baseball Coaches Association
Mike Nartker 1993 Third American Baseball Coaches Association
Ted Rose 1996 Third American Baseball Coaches Association
John Van Benschoten 2001 First American Baseball Coaches Association
Baseball America
Collegiate Baseball Newspaper
Adam Crowder 2003 Third American Baseball Coaches Association
Emmanuel Burriss 2006 Third
American Baseball Coaches Association
Baseball America
Drew Saylor First Collegiate Baseball Newspaper
Greg Rohan 2008 Third Collegiate Baseball Newspaper
Anthony Gallas 2010 Third Collegiate Baseball Newspaper
Andrew Chafin 2011 Second Perfect Game
Kyle Hallock Third Collegiate Baseball Newspaper
Kyle McMillen
Jimmy Rider 2012 Second
American Baseball Coaches Association
Baseball America
Collegiate Baseball Newspaper
Perfect Game
George Roberts Second Collegiate Baseball Newspaper
David Starn Third
American Baseball Coaches Association
Collegiate Baseball Newspaper
Eric Lauer 2016 First American Baseball Coaches Association
Baseball America
Collegiate Baseball Newspaper
National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Our Brand | Kent State University". Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  2. ^ Chestnut Burr. 1914. pp. 47–48. Retrieved March 26, 2015.
  3. ^ Gigenbach, Cara; Walton, Theresa (2008). Kent State University Athletics. Charleston, South Carolina, Chicago, Illinois, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and San Francisco, California: Arcadia. pp. 9, 11. ISBN 978-0-7385-5176-0.
  4. ^ Chestnut Burr. 1916. p. 154. Retrieved March 26, 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w Kent State Baseball Record Book (PDF). January 14, 2016. Retrieved May 25, 2016.
  6. ^ "Kent State Football Record Book" (PDF). Kent State University. 2014. Retrieved March 16, 2015.
  7. ^ Gigenbach & Walton, p. 43
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "2016 MAC Baseball Record Book" (PDF). Mid-American Conference. December 7, 2015. Retrieved May 31, 2016.
  9. ^ Gigenbach & Walton, p. 76
  10. ^ a b c d Kent State Athletic Communications (2009). "Scott Stricklin". Kent State University. Retrieved 28 September 2009.[dead link]
  11. ^ Associated Press (June 2, 2012). "Kent State outlasts Kentucky in 21 innings". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved June 27, 2012.
  12. ^ Alexander, Elton (June 3, 2012). "Kent State baseball team beats Purdue, one win away from regional title". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved June 27, 2012.
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