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March 25, 2011
Sophomore southpaw Andrew Chafin dominated Toledo on Friday, throwing a 4-hit shutout and striking out 15 as Kent State opened Mid-American Conference play with a 1-0 win that took only two hours and eight minutes to play.
Chafin threw 113 pitches--88 of them strikes--walked none, threw a first-pitch strike to 20 of the 30 batters he faced and at one point fanned six hitters in a row.
"It just felt like any other day," Chafin said. "I'm just going out there and trying to throw the ball as hard as I can and hit my spots."
Using his deadly slider as an out-pitch, coach Scott Stricklin knew Toledo's hitters would be swinging early in the count.
"We knew they were going to swing the bats?that's the thing with Andrew, you don't want to get down two strikes." Stricklin said. "Guys are afraid of that slider so they swung early like we thought. Once you're down two strikes, that slider is almost unhittable."
The Golden Flashes (11-9, 1-0 in the MAC) faced an equally tough opponent in Toledo starting pitcher Mike Hamann, but were finally able to break through and get on the scoreboard in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Third baseman Travis Shaw walked to start the inning and catcher David Lyon singled to put Flashes on first and second with no outs. Freshman Derek Toadvine was unable to bunt them over--the second time in the game an attempted sacrifice bunt was unsuccessful--but a passed ball two pitches later, coupled with a perfect read on the ball in the dirt and slide from Shaw, allowed each runner to advance.
Two batters later, Cody Koch drove in the only run of the game on a sacrifice fly to deep right field.
Chafin didn't need much run support on this day, but Stricklin knows opportunities can't be wasted.
With a one-run lead and his pitch count up to 90 through seven innings, Chafin seemed to get stronger.
He struck out the side in the top of the eighth inning--on nine consecutive strikes--and after the game had no idea he sat three hitters down that quickly.
Game two of the three game series is scheduled to begin on Saturday at 1:00 p.m.
Kent State NEWS