Flashes secure 15th straight MAC Tournament appearance with Bowling Green sweep

Kent+State+celebrates+its+second+win+of+the+day+against+Buffalo+on+April+21%2C+2018.+The+Flashes+swept+the+doubleheader%2C+winning+both+games%2C+10-2+and+13-1.

Kent State celebrates its second win of the day against Buffalo on April 21, 2018. The Flashes swept the doubleheader, winning both games, 10-2 and 13-1.

Chad Flannery

For the Kent State softball team, its current success couldn’t have come at a better time.

The Flashes won their last six games, sweeping conference opponents Buffalo and Bowling Green. Their most recent wins Saturday allowed them to clinch a spot in the Mid-American Conference Tournament for a 15th straight year.

“It feels good,” said coach Eric Oakley. “It’s one of our goals to win the MAC Tournament. The first step is to get there, and today we got in.”

Kent State (26-19, 12-8 MAC) was able to capture a weekend sweep against Bowling Green (25-23, 7-12 MAC) thanks to dominant pitching and success on offense.

“We played really well,” Oakley said. “We got the runs we needed and had great pitching.”

Holly Speers had a great series for the Flashes, going 3-for-3, scoring four runs and knocking in four RBI. She was also walked seven times this weekend, and two of her three hits were home runs.

Kent State is entering the final week of the regular season and will have four games this week, including a three-game weekend series at home against rival Akron.

“It’s just a matter of making sure we’re playing good ball,” Oakley said. “Right now, we are playing good defense, pitching well and we’re hitting the ball. Those are obviously the three components of the game, and it’s going pretty well right now.”

Game 1: Kent State 7, Bowling Green 0

Sophomore pitcher Madi Huck was phenomenal in this game for the Flashes. She allowed only three hits and struck out four in a complete game shutout to begin the weekend series.

Freshman Brenna Brownfield started off the scoring for the Flashes in the second inning with a solo home run to left field.

In the third, Kent State would plate two more thanks to an RBI single by Bailey Brownfield, which scored Kaitlyn Miller, and a wild pitch, which brought home Emily Dobbin.  

Kennadie Goth added an insurance run in the fourth when she singled up the middle and scored Miller yet again to make the score 4-0.

After the bases were walked full for the Flashes, Carlee Selle knocked in pinch runner Sydney Anderson on an RBI single to extend the lead to five.

In the sixth, Holly Speers capped off a solid offensive day for Kent State with a two-run homer to right center field to make the score 7-0.

Huck (15-7) got the win on the mound for Kent State. She did not allow a single Bowling Green baserunner to advance past second base in the entire game. This shutout marked the sixth of the season for Huck.

Game 2: Kent State 4, Bowling Green 3

Kent State carried their offensive hot streak into the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader.

Bailey Brownfield started the Flashes off strong with a two-RBI double in the first inning, which scored Speers and Dobbin. Maria Cegledy would also hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Brownfield to make the score 3-0.

The Falcons would begin their comeback in the second with an RBI single by Kellie Natham to cut the deficit to two.

In the third, a two-run home run by Bowling Green catcher Laine Simmons tied the game.

Things were quiet on both sides until the seventh inning when Kent State’s Brenna Brownfield would break the tie with an RBI single to left field to score Speers. That run would be all the Flashes would need as the Falcons failed to produce anything in the bottom of the inning.

Huck (16-7) got her second win of the weekend after pitching another complete game. She allowed three earned runs on eight hits, while striking out seven and walking two.

Game 3: Kent State 2, Bowling Green 1

Kent State started strong yet again when Holly Speers launched a two-run opposite field home run in the first inning to put the Flashes up, 2-0, early. The home run was Speers’ second of the weekend and 16th of the season.

Neither side could get anything going until the fourth when the Falcons managed to cut the lead to one on an RBI single.  

In the same inning, the Flashes got into a scare when Bowling Green loaded the bases. Freshman Brenna Brownfield was able to pitch her way out of that jam and keep the Flashes ahead by one.

Brownfield and the Flashes faced another jam in the bottom of the seventh when they were attempting to close out the game.

The Falcons were able to get two key two-out singles, which put runners on first and third. Brownfield was once again able to pitch herself out of the jam and secure the victory for Kent State.

Brownfield (8-7) had a solid outing for the Flashes in her win. She pitched a complete game and allowed one run on nine hits.

The Flashes will travel to Pittsburgh for their next game on Tuesday against the University of Pittsburgh. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. 

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