OMAHA, Neb. — Winning a game for the first time at the College World Series isn’t supposed to be easy.
Just ask Kent State.
The Golden Flashes survived shaky relief pitching to protect a one-run lead in the ninth inning and beat Florida 5-4 on Monday. The loss eliminated the top-seeded Gators, who made it to the finals a year ago.
“It wasn’t the prettiest thing in the end,” Kent State coach Scott Stricklin said. “It was gut-wrenching no matter who you were rooting for. Even if you weren’t rooting for anybody, that was tough to watch. But we found a way. That’s what this team has done all year long, and we’re still here.”
The Flashes (47-19) bounced back from an 8-1 loss to Arkansas to post what Stricklin called the biggest win in program history.
“We belong here,” he said. “That’s the most important thing that we wanted as a team, as a program and as a university was to make a statement that we belong here. We’re not a fluke. We’re a really good baseball team.”