Flashes conference struggles continue after weekend series loss against Miami

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Kent State’s Madi Huck throws the ball to Hunter Brancifort at first base for the out during the Flashes’ 1-0 victory over Western Michigan on March 24, 2018.

Chad Flannery

Although all losses are tough, the close ones are always the toughest.

“In the second game, we had a lot of opportunities in the last two innings of regulation and in extra innings,” Kent State coach Eric Oakley said. “We had opportunities, but we just needed one more hit. Credit to Miami for getting the outs they needed to get themselves out of that.”

Kent State (20-18, 6-8 Mid-American Conference) suffered a pair of one-run losses at the hands of Miami (OH) (17-19, 6-8).

“I couldn’t have asked more from our pitchers; they did a great job,” Oakley said. “We got runners on base. We just couldn’t get the key hit we needed.”

After getting a 4-3 victory in the series opener, the Flashes lost, 6-5, in extra innings in the second game and 3-2 in the series finale.

Bailey Brownfield led the way offensively for the Flashes, going 5-for-11 with three RBI.

Despite a recent rough patch where Kent State has lost four out of its last five conference games, Oakley knows the team’s confidence isn’t shaken.

“They just play in close games; the MAC is a tough conference, and we still control our own destiny.” Oakley said. “They know it’s just a matter of time before everything clicks together. We just need to make sure we put some wins together in the next few weekends.”

Game 1: Kent State 4, Miami (OH) 3

Sophomore Madi Huck (12-5) was big for the Flashes in the series opener. She pitched a complete game, only allowing three runs on five hits.

Kent State fell behind, 1-0, in the second inning on a solo home run by Redhawks first baseman Johniann Wahl.

However, the Flashes would respond with three runs of their own in the fourth thanks to a fielder’s choice, which would score Emily Dobbin, and RBI singles by Maria Cegledy and Allie Luther.

In the fifth, the Flashes added another when Brownfield hit an RBI double to left center to score Holly Speers.

Miami scored two runs in the sixth to start the comeback attempt, but were stopped short.

The Flashes would win by a final score of 4-3.

Game 2: Miami (OH) 6, Kent State 5 (11 innings)

With Kent State down by one in the bottom of the sixth inning, freshman Brenna Brownfield doubled to left center, scoring Alexis Taube, to tie the game at five.

Despite both teams having multiple chances, it took until the 11th inning to break the tie.

In the bottom half of the 11th, the Redhawks’ Lizzie Bollinger poked a walk-off single to center to win the game.

Madi Huck (12-6) got the loss on the mound after pitching in relief of Brenna Brownfield. In 5.2 innings of relief work, Huck only allowed five hits and one run.

The game was the longest game the Flashes have played since 2015.

Game 3: Miami (OH) 3, Kent State 2

The Flashes were stuck in a back-and-forth battle with the Redhawks to end the weekend series.

Kent State jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the top half of the first inning after an RBI triple by Holly Speers scored Emily Dobbin.

Things were quiet on both sides until the fourth inning, when Miami’s Ashton Slone hit a solo homer to center field to tie the game.

Freshman Brenna Brownfield would answer back immediately with her own solo home run to center in the fifth to put the Flashes back up by one.

In the bottom half of the sixth, Kent State’s Madi Huck found herself in a jam with runners on second and third with two outs. That’s when Redhawks left fielder Kaitlyn Gliha hit a two-run double to left center to give Miami their first lead of the game.

The Flashes were unable to get anything going in the seventh, allowing the Redhawks grab the victory, 3-2.

Huck (12-7) recorded the loss, after throwing 5.2 innings and giving up three runs on eight hits.

The Flashes will be back home at the Diamond at Dix on Wednesday against the University of Pittsburgh. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.

Chad Flannery is a sports reporter. Contact him at [email protected]