BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – Kent State entered Friday's game needing one win to clinch the Mid-American Conference regular season title, and they succeeded in grand fashion as Eric Lauer no-hit Bowling Green and the team erupted for a 14-0 victory.
Lauer tied his career-high in strikeouts with 13 on the day and moved to second all-time in career strikeouts in the Kent State record books with the effort. He did not allow a free pass while the only base runner Bowling Green had reached on an error in the third inning. Appropriately enough, the guy who wears No. 10 on his back became just the 10th Kent State pitcher all-time to throw a no-hitter, as he logged the 11th no-no in program history.
"I didn't feel dynamite or anything today," said Lauer, "I felt like I could move my fastball up and down, which helps a ton. It's not so much a feeling that you have amazing stuff, it's more that your command is there and you can control what's going on."
While improving to 37-11 on the season and 18-4 in conference play, the Golden Flashes clinched an outright MAC title with the victory. They will hold the number one seed once the conference tournament begins May 25 in Avon.
"Not only to win a MAC Championship but to do it the way we did with Eric Lauer throwing the no-hitter," said head coach Jeff Duncan. "I'm just so happy for him, and for Pete Schuler, a freshman, catching it. It's a big game in our program history. I can honestly say that everyone contributed to get where we are at right now, I'm happy for this program."
Even though Lauer didn't need much run support, a 12-run ninth inning where every batter came to the plate twice broke the game wide open. Leading up to the final frame, Conner Simonetti walked in the second then scored after a Pete Schuler single and Dom Iero ground ball to get the scoring started. It was a 2-0 game after the seventh as Simonetti started things off again with a base hit, was followed by a Schuler base hit and then scored a run on a Reilly Hawkins single to right field.
The 12-run 9th inning came by way of nine hits, starting with a solo shot by Schuler and highlighted by Josh Hollander's first career dinger, a three-run bomb over the left field wall. Luke Burch doubled in the frame to score two and Dylan Rosa also had a two-bagger in the onslaught.
Schuler and Hawkins both led with three-hit days while Zarley Zalewski, Iero and Hollander had two hits each. Every player in the lineup recorded at least one hit and one run scored in the contest.