Kent State defeats Buffalo, moves into second place in MAC East

Freshman outfielder Sydney Anderson races safely to first base after the University at Buffalo player misses a passed ball in the first of their double header games on Saturday April 23, 2016. The Flashes would go on to win their first game 8-0.

Nick Buzzelli

When Holly Speers walked to the plate at the Diamond at Dix Friday afternoon in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Kent State softball team was trailing by one and down to its final two outs.

Speers, who had one hit on the day prior to that at bat, came through in the clutch, driving home Arika Roush and Maddy Grimm for a 3-2 walk-off win.

But the hit parade didn’t stop there for Kent State’s starting shortstop.

Speers went 3-5 with a home run and two RBIs over the course of the next two games, helping the Flashes (28-17, 11-6) sweep Buffalo (14-30, 8-9) in the weekend series.

“Anytime you can sweep a conference (team), it’s nice,” coach Eric Oakley said following Saturday’s doubleheader. “We came in tied with Buffalo, so this helps us out a lot in the standings … ”

The Bulls took an early 2-0 lead in game one courtesy of a Katie Weimer double. But pitcher Ronnie Ladines, who tossed a complete game, retired the next 10 batters in order. And a Maddy Grimm homer to left center in the fifth cut the deficit to one, setting up Speers’ heroics two innings later.

On Saturday, however, the offense was in full force for the Flashes throughout the entire contest. Kent State jumped out to a seven run advantage after three, thanks to singles by Speers and Shelbi Tilton and a Michele Duffy double.

The Flashes would add another in the following frame after Ladines was walked with the bases loaded, enabling Speers to score.

On the mound, Ladines once again threw a complete game—his time five innings due to the NCAA’s mercy rule—and Kent State picked up the 8-0 win.

In the final game, the Flashes once again built an early lead. Buffalo would come within one after Catrell Robertson hit a solo shot to right in the sixth, but Ladines—in the game as the designated hitter—drove in Allie Luther and Sydney Anderson with a base hit through the left side, sealing sweep.

Right hander Janel Hayes picked up her 11th win of the season, giving up four hits and one earned run in seven innings of work.

Kent State concludes its home stand Wednesday with a doubleheader against Youngstown State, before traveling to Bowling Green for a three game series Friday and Saturday.

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