Kent State has been one of the big surprises of the College Baseball World Series, and the team will need its key players to step up in order to beat South Carolina and avoid elimination.
The Ohio-based school takes on the Gamecocks at 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday, June 20. The full schedule for the rest of the action in Omaha can be found at ESPN.com.
Both teams have already lost one game at the tournament, so the loser goes home while the winner advances to play Arkansas.
Here are the three players that must perform at a high level in order for the Golden Flashes to stay alive.
Tyler Skulina, RHP
It will all start with the man on the mound, and the 6’6” pitcher will need to be at his best on Wednesday night.
Skulina will be making his College World Series debut after a productive season. He went 11-2 with a 3.63 ERA and 97 strikeouts in 101.2 innings pitched.
But South Carolina is the two-time defending national champion, and the sophomore will face the toughest test of his career.
Skulina was Ohio’s top recruit coming out of high school—as noted by Steven Pivovar of the Omaha World-Herald—but he will need to turn talent into results in order for his team to continue at the tournament.
George Roberts, 1B
Roberts has been an excellent hitter for the Golden Flashes all season long.
He is batting .364 with a .552 slugging percentage, and will need to prove why he has been able to record those stats when playing South Carolina.
Roberts came up big when Kent St. shockingly eliminated top-seeded Florida, going 2-for-4 with two RBIs.
In order to give Skulina the run support he needs, Roberts will need to come through with another multi-hit game.
Jimmy Rider, SS
Rider is a senior, and he will need to lead his team with an excellent performance at the plate and in the infield.
The shortstop has had an incredibly productive season, batting .363 with a .534 slugging percentage. His 106 hits this season helped him set the all-time MAC record for hits, as noted by the Washington Observer-Reporter.
Rider has already displayed heroics in the postseason. He drove in the game-winning run in the 3-2 victory over Oregon that sent his team to the College World Series.
He will need to continue to come through in the clutch if Kent State hopes to continue its improbable run.