by Lisa Hinton-Valdrighi
Northumberland High School graduate Zak Kent is setting records and collecting honors almost weekly on the mound for Virginia Military Institute.
Kent, a junior right-hander, is 4-2 on the season with a 3.31 ERA and a conference-best 81 strikeouts in 54 1/3 innings. He is ranked third in NCAA Division 1 baseball in total strikeouts.
Kent earned the Southern Conference’s Baseball Pitcher of the Week honor for the week of April 8. He also earned the honor March 18.
Kent struck out 15 batters and tied the school’s record for strikeouts in a single game in the aluminum bat era (a mark set in 1998). He tied the record when the Keydets beat Lehigh University, 11-1. The Mountain Hawks’ first batter flew out before Kent’s next 11 outs were by strikeout.
He threw eight innings of shutout ball April 7 against East Tennessee State, striking out 12 and allowing six hits with four walks. He worked out of bases-loaded jams in the fifth and sixth innings to lead VMI to a 6-0 win.
During Kent’s last five games, he has struck out 63 batters with only nine walks in 39 2/3 innings.
Kent is the son of Allen and Sherri Kent of Heathsville.