Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Flashes tame Texas; Tribe, not so much

It was a tale of extremes this weekend for two of the local nines as they battled in and against Texas.

After being so strong at home, the Indians finally crashed in a four-game sweep at the hands of the Rangers.

As for Kent State, the Golden Flashes were loving the Lone Star state this weekend.

The Indians continue to struggle offensively, as the Tribe only put up six runs in the four-game series, and were shutout Saturday and Sunday.

The Tribe only put up five hits on Saturday – three from Asdrubal Cabrera – which means hitters three through nine in the lineup were a combined 1-for-23.

It was much the same on Saturday, another five-hitter by the Tribe, with five through nine in the lineup combining to go 2-for-16.

Sunday? Try three hits, with five through nine combining to go 1-for-14.

To recap: in the past three games, Tribe “hitters” five through nine in the lineup were a combined 4-for-45, an .089 average.

Is it really any surprise they were swept?

On the pitching side, things were just as bad.

Texas hasn’t shown much power on the road this year, coming into the series with just 16 home runs on the road. So, of course, they rip the Indians for six home runs on the weekend.

Actually, that may be a bit harsh as the starting pitching really wasn’t all that bad.

Friday night, Justin worked into the seventh and left with the Indians trailing 2-1. Tony Sipp came on with two runners on and Josh Hamilton, who was batting .179 against left-handers, hit a three-run homer and the rout was on.

Saturday, Fausto Carmona gave up two, two-run homers but pretty much shut down the Rangers. Sunday, it was Mitch Talbot going six innings and only giving up the two solo homers.

It was that kind of weekend for the Tribe, which is going through a really tough stretch right now. Over the past 10 games, second-place Detroit has made up three games in the standings and the Tigers now sit just 2.5-games behind – the closest anyone has been to the Indians since the end of April.

The good news is that the Indians now get last-place Minnesota (13.5 games back) for three games while Detroit has to go to Texas for three.

The Indians should be able to get things back on track against the Twins, and if the Rangers can keep the momentum going from this weekend the Tribe will see their first-place cushion get a little bit bigger again.

Kent defeated host Texas, the No. 1 seed in their regional and the No. 5 team in the nation, on the Longhorns’ home field Saturday night, 7-5.

“I thought that was just a wonderful ballgame all the way around,” said associate head coach/pitching coach Mike Birkbeck. “The Texas Longhorns did not give up. They got down to their last out. But we are thrilled to be in the position that we are in.”

The Golden Flashes rocked Texas ace Taylor Jungmann (13-1) for seven earned runs and eight hits in 5 2-3 innings for the Longhorns (44-16). It was his first career loss at home.

The No. 3-seeded Golden Flashes (45-15) advance to a regional final for the first time since 2001. The 2011 squad becomes the second in program history to reach the 45-win mark, joining the 1992 team in achieving the most victories in program history.

The Golden Flashes were scheduled to take on the Longhorns again Sunday night, after Texas beat Texas State in the afternoon to advance from the loser’s bracket.

The Longhorns took it to Kent, however, beating the Flashes 9-3 to set up a winner-take-all game this afternoon at 2.

Win, and Kent earns a spot in the Super Regional for the first time in school history.

We have to worry, though, that the Flashes lost their chance Sunday night.

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