Flashes dominate Buffalo in weekend sweep

Madi Huck hurls a pitch against Buffalo on April 21, 2018. The Flashes swept Buffalo in a three-game series, each win coming from the run-rule after five innings. 

Chad Flannery

The Kent State softball team took the field this weekend with green ribbons in their hair to honor Cara Neumann, a fan of the team, who passed away earlier this year after losing her battle with cancer.  

The Flashes credited Neumann with giving them a much-needed boost last season, especially in the Mid-American Confrence Tournament after a loss to Ohio. Neumann hugged the team as they came off the field and lifted their spirits. The Flashes would go on to win three straight games, including the championship game with Neumann watching from the front row.

On the diamond this weekend, Kent State (23-19, 9-8 Mid-American Conference) had one of its best series of the season against Buffalo (15-26, 6-11). The Flashes scored a total of 33 runs on their way to three straight run-rule victories.

On offense, the Flashes received a lot of production from their two-through-four hitters in the lineup: Emily Dobbin, Holly Speers and Bailey Brownfield.

The three of them went a combined 19-for-27 for the series, scoring nine runs and knocking in 10 RBI.

Pitching for the Flashes was phenomenal as well. Sophomore Madi Huck and freshman Brenna Brownfield pitched a combined 15 innings and only allowed three total runs.

Game 1: Kent State 10, Buffalo 0 (5 Innings)

Madi Huck (13-7)  threw a phenomenal game on the mound for the Flashes, limiting the Bulls to two hits and eight strikeouts. 

Kent State exploded for five runs in the first inning thanks to RBI singles by Bailey Brownfield and Maria Cegledy, an RBI double by Brenna Brownfield and a two-run double by catcher Carlee Selle.

In the third, Alexis Taube scored on a fielder’s choice by Kaitlyn Miller. Kennadie Goth also had a sacrifice bunt which scored Allie Luther to give the Flashes a 7-0 lead.

The Flashes would continue their hot offensive day in the fourth when Brenna Brownfield recorded another RBI double. Cegledy also scored on a fielder’s choice and Luther provided a solo homer to left field to give the Flashes the 10-0 lead and the eventual run-rule victory.

Game 2: Kent State 10, Buffalo 2 (5 Innings)

Kent State’s offensive success carried over into the doubleheader on Saturday.

Holly Speers and Emily Dobbin started the Flashes off with back-to back solo home runs in the first inning to the Flashes up, 2-0.

Dobbin stepped to the plate again in the second and laced a single into left field to score Miller and Luther. Bailey Brownfield would then go on to hit a two-run double into left field, scoring Goth and Dobbin. All four runs in the second inning went unearned.

In the third, Speers walked with the bases loaded to bring home Luther. Bailey Brownfield would step up next and deliver another two-RBI double to make the score 9-0.

Buffalo would chip into the lead in the fourth with a two-run home run to cut the lead to seven.

However, in the fifth, Speers ended their hopes of a comeback with a solo homer to center, her second of the game, to invoke the run-rule.

Madi Huck (14-7) pitched well again and received the victory for the Flashes. She allowed only two runs on three hits and struck out seven Bulls.

Game 3: Kent State 13, Buffalo 1 (5 Innings)

Bailey Brownfield provided the Flashes with yet another first inning lead after an RBI single scored Goth.

Speers tacked on her third home run of the day in the third inning to make the score 2-0.

Buffalo cut the lead to one in the top of the fourth on a solo home run, but that was as close as they’d get.

In the bottom half of the fourth, Kent State exploded, scoring 11 runs to make the score 13-1,  which would eventually be enough to invoke the run-rule after a scoreless fifth inning by Buffalo.

Brenna Brownfield (7-7) got the win for the Flashes after pitching four innings and only allowing one run on four hits. Madi Huck relieved Brownfield in the fifth and provided a solid inning of relief, allowing no hits and striking out one.

Kent State returns to the diamond against Saint Francis (PA) for an away doubleheader on Tuesday. First pitch for the first game is scheduled for 1 p.m.

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