Flashes sweep Bowling Green, secure top spot in East

Then a sophomore, infielder Holly Spears catches a ball tossed by former Kent State infielder Michele Duffy in a rundown with a Youngstown State player on April 25, 2017. [FILE]

Nick Buzzelli

When junior infielder Maddy Grimm stepped up to bat against Bowling Green State University’s Briana Combs at Meserve Field, the Kent State softball team already had a 2-0 lead over last place team in the Mid-American Conference’s East Division.

And following her at bat, the Flashes had a five-run advantage. Meanwhile, Grimm had her 16th home run of the 2016 season and 48th of her career, which has tied her for third place all time in the conference’s home run record book.

But it was the pitching of junior pitcher Ronnie Ladines—who struck out five in a five inning complete game shutout—that secured Kent State (31-18, 13-6) an 8-0 win over the Falcons (18-32, 6-13) Saturday afternoon.

“We got another strong pitching outing from (Ladines) along with timely hits that put us in a good spot today to get the first win,” said Eric Oakley, interim head coach, after Saturday’s game. “(Senior) Nicki (Cregan) provided a nice spark filling in at the designated player position and (junior catcher) Brooke (Dodson) did a great job coming in off the bench. (Grimm) continues to be an exciting hitter.”

The Flashes scored five of their eight runs in the top of the second en route to their second conference sweep of the season.

In game 3, which was rescheduled for Sunday afternoon due to a thunderstorm, Ladines once again picked up the win —her 18th of the campaign—surrendering two hits and fanning three Falcons in six innings.

Both of Kent State’s runs in the final game of the series came off of the bat of sophomore outfielder Emily Dobbin, who hit a double that scored senior utility Arika Roush in the second and an RBI ground out that brought Hunter Brancifort home in the final frame.

The Flashes take on The Ohio State University in a weekday doubleheader Wednesday before closing out the regular season by hosting rival The University of Akron for a three-game series on Friday and Saturday.

Nick Buzzelli is a sports reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].