Another successful weekend for Flashes in Florida

Then+a+Kent+State+senior+infielder%2C+Maddy+Grimm+bunts+during+the+double-header+against+Miami+University+at+the+Diamond+at+Dix+on+Friday%2C+April+14%2C+2017.+The+Flashes+lost%2C+12-4.+%5BFILE%5D

Then a Kent State senior infielder, Maddy Grimm bunts during the double-header against Miami University at the Diamond at Dix on Friday, April 14, 2017. The Flashes lost, 12-4. [FILE]

Cameron Hoover

The Kent State softball team (7-3) had another productive weekend, winning three of its five games at EMU’s Madeira Beach Tournament in Florida.

“We were hoping to get one or two more wins, but we were happy to get three,” Kent State coach Eric Oakley said. “We’re learning a lot about the team, and we’ll take a winning weekend.”

Pitching was a major factor for the Flashes over the weekend. In the team’s three wins, it only allowed two total runs compared to 15 in the two losses.

Sophomore pitcher Madi Huck continued her dominance in the circle, only giving up one run in 16.2 innings of work on the weekend, striking out 11 and only walking four.

Huck has now given up just one run in 32.2 innings on the season.

“They’re doing a good job,” Oakley said of his pitching staff. “They’re keeping us in games.”

Holly Speers went 8-for-13 on the weekend, driving in eight runs on two home runs, including a 4-for-4 performance against Nicholls where she drove in two runs and scored two more.

Oakley said he was impressed by his team and was more than happy to be leaving Florida with a 7-3 record, especially because he used the tournament as a means to experiment with new lineups.

“Obviously, having a winning record right now is a positive,” Oakley said. “We’re still trying some different lineups. We’re giving different people some opportunities, and a lot of them are stepping up when the opportunities are presented to them. It’ll be a while before we settle on a lineup. That’s what these first few weeks are about.”

Game 1: Kent State 8, Delaware 0 (5 innings)

The Flashes and Mud Hens played to a pitchers’ stalemate, tied at 0, through the first 3.5 innings. Kent State finally cracked Delaware starter Sarah Piening in the fourth inning, teeing off for eight runs in the frame.

Up 1-0 at the time, Flashes shortstop Holly Speers whacked a bases-loaded, bases-clearing double to left centerfield to give Kent State a cushion. Allie Luther, who played first base, put the game to bed two batters later, cranking a two-run homer over the centerfield wall to give the Flashes a 7-0 lead.

Madi Huck pitched her third complete game shutout of the season, giving up just three hits in five innings while striking out six Mud Hens.

Game 2: Kent State 5, Nicholls 1

Kent State starter Brenna Brownfield pitched out of some jams, giving up just one run in 4.2 innings on seven hits and two walks, for her first win of the season.

Brownfield got enough run support in the third inning when Holly Speers crushed a two-run home run over the fence in left field, the shortstop’s first of the season. The Flashes added a run in the fifth inning and two more in the seventh to put the game out of reach.

Madi Huck slammed the door shut on the Colonels for her first save of the season, pitching the last 2.1 innings and giving up only one hit.

Game 3: Middle Tennessee 11, Kent State 3 (5 innings)

The Blue Raiders jumped out to a quick lead, scoring all 11 of their runs in the first three innings. Kent State starting pitcher Kristyn Eckl was chased early, allowing six runs (five earned) in her only inning of work, walking five. Eckl was relieved by Olivia Sborlini who was tagged for five more runs (four earned) in her three innings of work.

Precious Birdsong and Jocelynn De La Cruz eached drove in three runs for Middle Tennessee. Alexis Taube was the only Flash to register an RBI, as the team’s other two runs were scored on fielding errors by Blue Raiders shortstop Summer Burgess.

Game 4: Kent State 9, Albany 1 (5 innings)

Kent State tallied seven runs in the game’s final two innings to carry the Flashes to a run-rule victory over the Great Danes. Holly Speers broke the game open with a three-run homer in the fourth inning, her second of the weekend and the season.

Bailey Brownfield, Jen Cader, Hunter Brancifort and Vanessa Vodan each added RBI for the Flashes.

Madi Huck gave up one run on six hits in five innings for another complete game for the Flashes. An RBI single from Albany’s Shaye Swiatek snapped Huck’s streak of 23.2 scoreless innings to start the season.

Game 5: Villanova 4, Kent State 2

Villanova hung a four-spot on Kent State starting pitcher Brenna Brownfield in the third inning to propel the Wildcats to a victory on the tournament’s final day.

Lauren Hanna started the scoring off for Villanova with a two-run double to give the Wildcats a 2-1 lead. Anissa Amarillas put the game out of reach with a two-run homer two batters later. Amarillas also got the win in the circle, throwing a complete game, giving up two runs in seven innings.

Allie Luther hit her first home run of the season.

Kent State returns to the diamond for a road game against Marshall at 3 p.m. Wednesday at Dot Hicks Field.

Cameron Hoover is the sports editor. Contact him at [email protected]