It Doesn’t Get Better Than This…Walk-Off-Weekend for Kennesaw State Baseball
The Kennesaw State Baseball team finished its regular season against long-time rival North Florida Ospreys on Saturday in dramatic fashion with a walk-off-home-run by junior Matt Bahnick to sweep the series and enter the Atlantic Sun Championships on a 15-game ASun win streak. Not to mention the Max Pentecost’s 35-game hit streak, which is the longest in the nation. But, the walk-off home-run was only one of several exhilarating plays this team made this weekend. This team is special.
Kennesaw State won the first game in the series 3-2 as the Owls used small ball and great pitching to clip the Ospreys. On Friday night, the Owls fell behind by a run after one inning when senior Bo Way tied the game with a commanding home-run to right-center field. The Owls took the lead on an arrant throw later in the second inning, which scored Chris McGowan, who later homered in the fifth. The Owls defense matched their power illustrated as the Osprey’s Trent Higginbothem hit a double off the wall and the UNF second baseman, Patrick Ervin, who was on first, tried to score. Way collected the ball in the outfield and relayed it to Owl shortstop Kal Simmons who made a perfect throw to catcher Brennan Morgan gunning down Ervin at the plate. The Owls held a 4-1 lead going into the ninth inning with the ASun leader in saves on the mound, Justin McCalvin. The tenacious bats of UNF were able to tie the game at four going into the bottom of the ninth. The Owl’s outfielder Jacob Bruce crushed a one-out triple to the right-center field wall to set up a match between Osprey pitcher Ryan McMahon and All-American Max Pentecost. Max has wow’d the Owl fans with his power and extra base hits, but all he needed was a sacrifice fly or a bloop-hit against a shallow infield. Max did just that as he slapped a 2-2 pitch over the shortstop’s head easily scoring Bruce from third.
In the final game, freshman Gabe Friese took the hill and had a dominating performance. His 6.0 complete innings of shut-out baseball kept the Owls in the game as the North Florida pitching shut out the Owls’ bats. The game stayed scoreless through regulation that is, until the bottom of the tenth inning. Matt Bahnick batting in the seventh spot in the batting order was due up first in the extra frame. Bahnick had only one home-run on the season. Corbin Olmstead came into pitch for the Ospreys and face the Owls’ seven, eight and nine batters. Bahnick was first and he fouled off a couple of pitches between three pitches out of the zone. A full-count guaranteed Bahnick was going to get a pitch to hit. The rest, as they (I don’t know who they are, but…) is history. Bahnick walk-off homerun was a perfect cap to one of the most magical regular season’s in Kennesaw State’s athletic history. The Owls now enter the ASun Championship Tournament as the #3 seed.
The Atlantic Sun Championships are scheduled for May 21-25. East Tennessee State is the defending and happen to be the team Kennesaw State will face in round one of the tournament, which is held in Ft. Meyers, Florida on the campus of Florida Gulf Coast University. The format has changed from last season, so be sure to follow all the activity at www.atlanticsun.org/baseball/championship.
Video: ASun.tv: Kennesaw State vs North Florida: Broadcasters: Nathan McCreary and Matt Cason
Audio: Jacob Bruce’s Web Gem, stealing a homerun away from UNF’s Trent Higginbothem
Audio: Matt Bahnick’s Walk-off Homerun, Owls Win, Owls Win, Owls Win!