Softball returns home to face Buffalo in weekend series

Christian Petrila

Kent State’s softball team returns from a brief non-conference stop at Penn State to take on Buffalo for a two-game home series this weekend.

This is Kent State’s second time seeing the Bulls. The Flashes lost 3-2 against Buffalo when they faced off at the Louisville Tournament in February.

That first game against Buffalo was an extra-inning loss for the Flashes. Lauren McNeil pitched a complete game in the loss, limiting the Bulls to just three runs (two earned) on six hits.

“Lauren McNeil gave us a really good performance on the mound,” head coach Karen Linder said after the first matchup. “Today was probably one of her best outings. She battled the entire game and kept us in it, even though we weren’t able to produce runs.”

This time around, there’s much more at stake for the Flashes. Entering play with an 11-5 Mid-American Conference record, they trail first-place Miami by mere percentage points in the MAC East.

Linder said, with the MAC still up for grabs, fans shouldn’t be surprised to see plenty of pitcher Emma Johnson.

“When we enter a conference weekend, we anticipate that Emma [Johnson] may make an appearance in all four games, so we’re prepared from that standpoint,” Linder said. “On the third day, I like to start somebody else and McNeil has been our starter; but if those pitchers that are in on that third day get into trouble, then we’re not going to hesitate to go to Emma right away.”

Buffalo enters the weekend with a 14-26 and a 5-9 conference record.

The Bulls have had their struggles on offense, hitting just .225 as a team this season. Pitching-wise, opponents are hitting .284 against them and the team has an ERA of 4.13.

The first game from the Diamond at Dix is set for 2 p.m. Saturday, with the second starting at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Contact Christian Petrila at [email protected].