Softball wins three of four in Michigan


Sophomore outfielder Dani Ramos makes a safe leap to first base for Kent State during a double header against University of Akron on Saturday, March 30. Kent State defeated Akron in both games, the first with a final score of 2-1 and the second with a final score of 5-3. Photo by Jenna Watson.

Christian Petrila

Kent State (15-13, 6-2 Mid-American Conference) had itself a solid weekend in Michigan as it went 3-1 against Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan to stay atop the MAC East.

The action began with a doubleheader against Eastern Michigan (10-19-1) on Friday. The first game saw the Flashes continue their recent trend of coming from behind as they rallied from a 3-0 fifth-inning deficit to win, 4-3.

Defending MAC East Pitcher of the Week Emma Johnson tossed another complete game while allowing eight hits and three runs (two earned). On the offensive end, the Flashes put up four runs in the top of the fifth. The knockout blow was Lauren Balodis’ two-run single, which scored the tying and go-ahead runs.

The second game was a different story, as the Flashes never even gave the Eagles a chance, completing the sweep with an 11-2 victory.

For the second straight game, the fifth inning was the key inning for Kent State. Leading 1-0 and getting a terrific performance from Lauren McNeil on the mound, the Flashes put up a five-spot on the scoreboard.

It wasn’t the only five-run inning on the day, however. In the seventh, the Flashes scored five more, with Michele Duffy’s grand slam putting the exclamation point on the day.

“Our offense really came alive today,” head coach Karen Linder said. “We had clutch hitting and the fifth inning was big for us in both games.”

Unfortunately for the Flashes, the hot bats didn’t make the trip from Ypsilanti to Mt. Pleasant, as they lost their first game to Central Michigan (18-12, 4-2 MAC), 3-0.

While each team could only muster three hits, two of Central Michigan’s were home runs off Johnson.

“It was a good softball game,” Linder said. “We had some scoring opportunities and left too many runners on base. Central Michigan had two big hits, and that was the difference.”

While Johnson pitched well in the complete game effort, she was outdueled by Kara Dornbos, who pitched a complete game of her own. The only difference was that Dornbos kept the ball in the yard. Other than that, the number of hits was the same (three), the number of walks was the same (two) and the number of strikeouts was the same (six).

“We need to do a better job with pitch selection and discipline at the plate [Sunday],” Linder said.

The Flashes certainly saved the best for last, as they ended the weekend quartet with an extra-inning win over the Chippewas, 5-4 in 11 innings.

The Flashes probably wish the game hadn’t gone to extra innings, considering they held a three-run lead with just three outs to go. However, walks and defensive miscues allowed Central Michigan back in the game.

It was a generally sloppy game, with the teams combining for eight errors (three for Kent State and five for Central Michigan). In fact, only one of Kent State’s five runs — Kim Kirkpatrick’s home run to lead off the game — was earned.

McNeil got the start for the Flashes and went six-plus innings before Johnson was brought in for relief. She would pitch five innings to pick up the win in relief.

Kent State still has six games remaining on its longest away game stretch of the season, with the next stop being a Tuesday doubleheader at Robert Morris (19-10). The first game begins at 3 p.m.

Contact Christian Petrila at [email protected].