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Kent State 3, Oregon 2: Golden Flashes reach College World Series

By Randi Brown
Special to the Beacon Journal

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Kent State players celebrates their 3-2 win in the deciding game of an NCAA college baseball tournament super regional against Oregon, Monday in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/The Oregonian, Ross William Hamilton)

EUGENE, ORE: The Kent State baseball team is going to the College World Series.

The Golden Flashes (46-18) defeated host Oregon 3-2 on Monday night to win their best-of-three Super Regional series.

Jimmy Rider’s one-out bloop double down the left-field line scored Derek Toadvine with the winning run off Ducks closer Jimmie Sherfy.

Rider’s game-winner appeared to be a routine pop fly, but it fell just out of the reach of diving Oregon shortstop J.J. Altobelli and left fielder Brett Thomas.

Toadvine raced home to send Kent State to Omaha for the first time in school history and set off a celebration on the field.

Toadvine walked to open the ninth inning and Evan Campbell put down a sacrifice bunt to move Toadvine to second.

Tyler Skulina (Walsh Jesuit) pitched 5⅔ shutout innings and left with a 2-0 lead. He allowed two hits, walked three and struck out four.

The Flashes scored in the first inning on an RBI single by T.J. Sutton (GlenOak) that scored Rider and threatened to blow the game open in the second.

KSU loaded the bases with nobody out, but Campbell hit into a double play that scored Sawyer Polen and the Flashes led 2-0.

Skulina worked out of trouble in the third inning, getting an inning-ending double play.

Kent State threatened in the bottom of the seventh when David Lyon and George Roberts reached on a walk and a single up the middle, but Oregon reliever Thomas Thorpe got Sutton to fly out to end the rally.

Oregon (46-19) tied the score in the eighth inning off relievers Casey Wilson and Brian Clark, but Clark finished the inning with the score still tied, setting up the dramatic finish.

Wilson relieved Skulina in the sixth with two outs and two on and got Kyle Garlick to fly out.

Clark, who pitched two innings, was credited with the win. He allowed one run on one hit, walked one and struck out one.

Kent State will face Arkansas, a 1-0 winner over sixth-ranked Baylor in their Super Regional, in the first round of the College World Series at 5 p.m. Saturday in Omaha, Neb..