Softball wins first game of doubleheader

Kent State softball player Lauren Kesterson throws a ball to first base during a during a double header against University of Akron on Saturday, March 30, 2013. 

Christian Petrila

Kent State continued the trend of extra-inning winning, as it won the first game of a doubleheader against Robert Morris 4-3.

Game One

After being locked in a 2-2 tie for four innings, the Flashes finally broke through for two runs in the top of the 11th, thanks to Jessacca Gironda’s two-run single that scored Abbey Ledford and Lauren Grimes.

The Colonials tried to make a comeback in the bottom of the frame, but Emma Johnson, who came on relief of Lauren McNeil in the sixth inning, limited them to one run before getting the final out to improve the Flashes’ record to 16-13.

Pitching was terrific for the Flashes all game long. McNeil and Johnson combined to pitch the entire game and allow the Colonials just three runs in 11 innings. The two combined for 16 strikeouts, with Johnson accounting for 10 of them. Possibly an even bigger factor was that the two combined to allow just one walk all game long.

On offense, the Flashes broke a scoreless tie in the top of the fourth inning when Lauren Balodis cranked a solo home run to right center.

After Robert Morris tied it in the bottom of the frame, Kent State benefited from the longball once again in the next inning as Natalie Bagby hit a solo home run to left center.

The Flashes held the lead until the bottom of the sixth when Robert Morris tied it on an RBI single from Martiza Jimenez. With the Colonials threatening to take the lead, head coach Karen Linder called on Johnson to quell the rally. Johnson responded by striking out the last two hitters of the inning.

Johnson took the win in relief to improve to 12-7 on the season, while Geena Badolato took the loss for Robert Morris. It wasn’t for a lack of effort, as Badolato pitched all 11 innings for the Colonials.

Game Two

The second game of Kent State’s softball’s doubleheader against Robert Morris ended in a 2-2 draw due to darkness after seven innings.

The Flashes used two pitchers – Alyssa Frankenfield and Lauren McNeil – to stymie the Colonials until the umpires decided that conditions wouldn’t allow for the game to be finished.

On offense, the Flashes were only able to muster two hits, but they were also able to overcome five errors to leave Moon Township with a win and a tie.

Robert Morris had a chance to come away victorious in the bottom of the seventh, but centerfielder Lauren Grimes threw a dart to the plate to get the Colonials’ Ashley Gerhart.

It was Kent State’s third consecutive extra-inning affair. Head coach Karen Linder was pleased with her team’s resiliency after the game.

“I’m real proud of the way the kids have stayed mentally strong and found a way to win games late,” Linder said. “We just played an 11-inning game against Central Michigan on Sunday and now had to come back to get this one. The doubleheader against Robert Morris was a good opportunity for us to see two good left-handed pitchers. We changed our lineup around for both games to give us a chance to generate some more offense.”

Only one of Kent State’s two runs was earned, and it came courtesy of a Michele Duffy RBI single. It was an otherwise difficult day for the Flashes third baseman, who committed three of Kent State’s five errors in the second game.

The Flashes have four games left on the 10-game road trip. Next up is a doubleheader at Toledo on Friday afternoon followed by a game Saturday and Sunday against Bowling Green.

Contact Christian Petrila at [email protected].