CHILLICOTHE, OHIO - The University of Toledo baseball team's season came to end with a 5-3 loss to Kent State in the Mid-American Conference tournament championship game Saturday at VA Memorial Stadium.
"This was a well-played game between two good teams," said UT coach Cory Mee, whose team was making only its second appearance in the MAC tourney finals in school history. "I'm just so proud of our team and their effort not only today but this whole week."
Sophomore Jim Vahalik paced the sixth-seeded Rockets (24-30) with a pair of hits against the fourth-seeded Golden Flashes (42-15) and finished the postseason with seven hits, eight runs scored, three home runs and four RBIs, earning all-tourney honors.
Joining Vahalik on the all-tourney squad from UT were sophomores Chris Dudics and Dan Sherwood.
Sophomore Matt Suschak (2-2) was tagged with the loss, allowing five runs (two earned) on four hits in the first inning.
Freshman right-hander and St. Francis de Sales graduate Alex Radon came on in relief, pitching a career-high six shutout innings with three strikeouts.
"Alex did a tremendous job," Mee said. "He gave us an opportunity to mount a comeback against a talented Kent State hitting squad."
The Golden Flashes exploded out of the gates with three home runs in the first. Ben Klafczynski and Greg Rohan hit solo shots before a crucial UT fielding error opened up the door for three more runs, including Travis Shaw's two-run bomb.
The Rockets finally broke through for their first runs on a two-run home run by Sherwood. Vahalik singled to lead off the inning, and Sherwood followed with his his team-best 11th homer to the opposite field to trim the deficit to a pair of runs.
UT added a solo home run by Vahalik in the ninth but could not get any closer.