Kennesaw State Earns First A-Sun Win; Downs Bruins, 3-1

Thursday, May 24, 2012

DeLand, Fla. – For the first time in program history, third-seeded Kennesaw State (32-24) earned a win in the Atlantic Sun Conference Baseball Championships, defeating top-seeded and defending tournament champion Belmont (36-22), 3-1, Thursday afternoon at Melching Field at Conrad Park. Owls starting pitcher Kevin Kyle went seven innings without allowing an earned run to earn his third win of the season.

Kennesaw State got on the scoreboard first on First Team All-Atlantic Sun catcher Ronnie Freeman’s RBI single in the top of the fourth inning, but the Bruins came back to knot it up in the bottom of the fifth as center fielder Dylan Craig’s grounder to shortstop brought left fielder Philip Parsley home from third base.

Atlantic Sun Insider:Freeman Helps Keep KSU's Owls in Flight

Owls third baseman Ethan Herron drove in what proved to be the winning run with an RBI single in the top of the seventh; designated hitter Max Pentecost, an A-Sun All-Freshman Team honoree, added an insurance run with an RBI single in the top of the eighth inning.

That support was enough for Kyle, who struck out two and surrendered just one unearned run on five hits and two walks in seven innings, and reliever Zak Griffith, who picked up a two-inning save. Belmont threatened in the bottom of the ninth as its first two hitters reached base, but Griffith induced a sacrifice bunt, a fielder’s choice and a groundout to third to end the ballgame.

Freeman had two hits to lead the KSU offense while A-Sun All-Freshman Team third baseman Matt Beaty was the only Bruin to record two base hits. Matt Hamann struck out five in 7.2 innings and took the loss for Belmont.

In a pair of Friday elimination games, Belmont will play the loser of tonight’s FGCU/Mercer contest at 11 a.m. while Kennesaw State will face sixth-seeded tourney host Stetson at 3 p.m.

The 2012 Atlantic Sun Baseball Championship continues with three games on Thursday in DeLand, Fla. on Melching Field at Conrad Park. All games will be broadcast for free on ASun.TV with Championship Saturday being streamed on ESPN3.

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The Atlantic Sun Conference is an NCAA Division I league with 10 member institutions committed to Building Winners for Life. The A-Sun meets the challenge of maintaining the highest standards in academic and athletic achievement with a true balance between student and athlete. Headquartered in Macon, Ga., the A-Sun boasts six of the top eight media markets in the Southeast. The A-Sun includes a blend of the most prestigious and dynamic private and public institutions in the region: Belmont University, East Tennessee State University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Lipscomb University, Mercer University, University of North Florida, University of South Carolina Upstate and Stetson University.