Flashes sweep Bowling Green, earn four seed in MAC tournament

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] 

Samantha Ross

The Kent State softball team (27-25, 15-9 Mid-American Conference) started off the weekend series against Bowling Green State University (24-32, 10-14 MAC) with a 2-0 victory on Friday. 

“This was a team that was fighting to get into the tournament and we shut them down three games in a row,” coach Eric Oakley said after the victory.

The only two runs of the game were scored in the third inning. 

Senior Maddy Grimm doubled to left field, which allowed freshman Kellie Abeska to score the first run for the Flashes, and the final run was scored by Grimm when junior Holly Speers singled to center field.

Senior Ronnie Ladines had 10 strikeouts and didn’t allow any runs.

The first game on Sunday was scoreless until the sixth inning when junior Emily Dobbin hit a two run home run to center field to give the Flashes a 2-0 win over the Falcons.

“The first game it wasn’t great, and it took us awhile to make an adjustment,” Oakley said of the teams performance at bat. “(Abeska) had a nice day at the plate and got on base and then Dobbin came through with the big hit in the first game.”

Senior Janel Hayes didn’t allow any runs and had five strikeouts. 

“They were outstanding,” Oakley said of his teams pitching staff. “Our last six MAC games we didn’t give up one run. (Landines, Grimm and Hayes) all pitched real great for us down the stretch. They’re really finding their groove at the right time.”

The final game ended after five innings, a game Kent State won 8-0. 

Grimm and Speers both hit home runs to start off the first inning to give Kent a 3-0 lead.

Grimm and Speers also hit back-to-back home runs again in the fourth inning.

“It was nice to see (Grimm) settle in,” Oakley said. “She had been struggling a bit and settled in and got a couple big hits. It seems like those come in pairs a lot with (Speers and Grimm). They like to feed off each other. Getting back to back home runs twice in a game was pretty cool.” 

Ladines allowed two hits, no runs and eight strikeouts.

“They played three games this weekend, they didn’t give up a run, and they got three MAC wins, which was huge for us,” Oakley said. “We were 6-8 at one point and we just finished 16-9. I’m proud of the team.”

Kent State is the fourth seed in the MAC tournament and will play Ball State University this Wednesday at Firestone Stadium at 10:30 a.m.

Samantha Ross is a sports reporter, contact her at [email protected].