Flashes head home after tough series loss in Happy Valley


Then a freshman, Kent State’s Kellie Abeska catches a pop fly during the Flashes 12-1 win at Akron on April 22, 2017. [FILE] 

Chad Flannery

After a pair of tough losses, the Flashes are looking forward to coming back to Kent this week and enjoying some home-field advantage.

“The most important thing for us this week is we are on our own field,” Kent State coach Eric Oakley said. “We will hopefully be able to get outside this week before our game Wednesday and practice on our own turf.”

Kent State (12-9) lost two out of three games this weekend against Penn State (3-18), including a painful 11-10 extra-inning loss on Sunday.

“We need to stop hurting ourselves,” Oakley said. “We are giving them too many chances, and they’re producing off those chances.”

However, Oakley was proud of how the offense produced this weekend.

The Flashes’ offensive production was led by senior shortstop Holly Speers and junior third baseman Bailey Brownfield.

Speers reached base in 10 of 12 at-bats, producing five runs and three RBI. She also had two home runs in Sunday’s loss.

Brownfield went 5-for-12, but produced seven RBI and two runs scored for the Flashes.

“In three games, we scored over 20 runs,” Oakley said. “That’s great production from our offense, but now we need to back it up by limiting the opposing team’s chances.”

Game 1: Kent State 6, Penn State 5

Kent State jumped out to an early 5-0 lead in the first inning thanks to a pair of RBI doubles from third baseman Bailey Brownfield and center fielder Maria Cegledy and an RBI single on a fielder’s choice by left fielder Emily Dobbin.

Paige Johnson, the Nittany Lions’ second baseman, smacked a three-run home run in the bottom half of the inning to cut the lead to two.

A sacrifice fly in the third inning by Flashes first baseman Allie Luther would score shortstop Holly Speers and be enough to secure the victory for Kent State.

Sophomore Madi Huck (8-2) pitched a complete game for the Flashes, giving up five earned runs on five hits while walking seven and striking out three.

Game 2: Penn State 6, Kent State 5

The second game of Saturday’s doubleheader remained scoreless until the fourth inning, when a triple by third baseman Bailey Brownfield scored two Flashes to give Kent State the lead.

Penn State answered back quickly, scoring six unanswered runs in the fourth and fifth innings, to put the Nittany Lions up, 6-2.

Kent State fought back in the sixth and seventh innings to cut the lead to one; however, the comeback was cut short, and the Flashes stranded the tying run on base.

Brenna Brownfield (2-3) was given the loss after giving up five runs on six hits, while walking two and striking out one in 4.2 innings of work.

Olivia Sborlini provided 1.1 innings of solid relief work, only giving up one run on three hits during the Flashes’ attempted comeback.

Game 3: Penn State 11, Kent State 10 (9 innings)

The Flashes and Nittany Lions participated in an offensive showcase in the final game of their three-game series this weekend.

The two offenses went back and forth over the first three innings, making the score 3-3 going into the fourth.

Over the course of the next few innings, the Flashes dominated.

A pair of home runs by shortstop Holly Speers that produced three RBI and a two-run triple down the right-field line by pinch hitter Jade Williams put the Flashes up, 8-4, going into the bottom of the seventh.

However, Penn State would produce four runs thanks to a three-run homer by center fielder Toni Polk and a wild pitch from Kent State’s Sborlini that scored the tying run and forced extra innings.

After a Bailey Brownfield double into left field in the eighth inning scored two Flashes to give Kent State a 10-8 lead, Penn State would tie the game again thanks to a two-run single from Destiny Weber.

In the ninth, the Nittany Lions would win the game on a walk-off single into right field from Tori Dubois.

The Flashes return home for their home opener, a doubleheader against Youngstown State (8-12), starting at 3 p.m. Wednesday at the Diamond at Dix.

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