Kent State softball ties for best start in program history

Kent State sophomore pitcher Ronnie Ladines pitched all five innings of Kent States 12-2 win over the University of Akron at the Diamond at Dix on Friday, April 10, 2015, allowing just 4 hits and 2 runs.

Nick Buzzelli

After taking four out of five games at the Upstate Invitational in Spartanburg, South Carolina, the Kent State softball team (9-1) has tied the program record for the best 10 game start to a season.

In the opening game of the tournament, hosted by University of South Carolina Upstate, the Flashes knocked off Oakland University, the defending Horizon League champions, 10-1, behind junior pitcher Ronnie Ladines’ six strikeout complete game performance. Later that day, junior pitcher Janel Hayes also threw a complete game, allowing one run on five hits, as Kent State defeated North Carolina Central University, 6-1.

On Saturday, despite having a chance to take an early lead, Kent State suffered its first loss of the season and fell to Furman University, 6-1.

Senior infielder Michele Duffy, the first batter, reached base on an infield single and eventually made her way to third on a groundout. Junior infielder Maddy Grimm was then intentionally walked and senior infielder Shelbi Tilton was hit by a pitch to setup a bases loaded situation for Ladines. However, the inning ended when Ladines flied out to center.

“We just didn’t get the timely hits we needed,” interim head coach Eric Oakley said in a press release following the loss. “Our defense was a little shaky as well, but bounced back and made some stellar plays that kept our lead safe in the second game.”

In the following contest, Kent State took down North Carolina Central for the second consecutive day. Despite surrendering a base hit to the first batter she faced, Ladines once again notched a complete game, striking out seven batters. Offensively, senior Arika Roush, Grimm and freshman infielder Bailey Brownfield each collected an RBI in the 3-0 win.

The Flashes went on to hand the Spartans their first loss of the season, 2-1, on Sunday afternoon. Even though the Spartans jumped out to an early lead, they went on to give up two runs in the second inning.

With the win, Ladines picked up her sixth victory of the 2016 season, striking out six and giving up one earned run on five hits in seven innings.

Next weekend, Kent State travels to Louisville, Kentucky to participate in the Red & Black Classic against North Dakota State University, the University of Louisville and Cleveland State University, respectively.

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