Feb. 17, 2012
ROCK HILL, S.C. – Kent State starter David Starn gave the Golden Flashes a gem on Opening Day, dealing No. 9 Georgia Tech a 5-0 defeat in the first game of the Rock Hill Coca-Cola Classic Friday in Rock Hill, S.C.
Tech’s All-America starter Buck Farmer was up to the task as well, matching his career high with nine strikeouts over six strong innings and allowing just two earned runs and a walk. But Farmer was hung the tough-luck loss that snapped Tech’s four-season winning streak on opening day.
Starn, who was 16th nationally in strikeouts last season and was eight months removed from helping the Golden Flashes to within a game of upsetting Texas in the NCAA Regional, fired eight scoreless with nine strikeouts, and limited Tech to four singles and a pair of walks.
George Roberts pounded out three hits and drove in a pair for Kent State (1-0).
After Kent State pushed an unearned run across in the first, Tech was set up in the second when Daniel Palka was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and Zane Evans followed with a single that moved Palka to third. The threat, though, was extinguished when KSU catcher David Lyon fired a strike to pick off Palka at third, and Starn recorded two quick outs after that.
A double play ended a two-on, one-out situation for Tech in the fifth, and in the sixth, Tech put the first two batters aboard but let another opportunity slip away. Kyle Wren led off with a single, Brandon Thomas walked, but Wren was erased in a run down after a failed sacrifice bunt. Thomas was retired at third moments later on a fielder’s choice.
Starn turned a 5-0 lead over Casey Wilson in the ninth, and Wilson retired Tech in order to seal just the second shutout of the Yellow Jackets since the 2008 season. It also marked the first time that Tech was blanked in its season-opener since 1970 – a 5-0 loss to Northwestern.
Kent wasted little time jumping on the Jackets as Roberts’ RBI single gave the Golden Flashes a 1-0 lead and Roberts aided his team’s cause in the third with the first of two back-to-back RBI doubles. Kent State added insurance runs in the eighth and ninth.
Tech is back to action Friday night, facing the host Winthrop Eagles in the second game of a season-opening doubleheader.