Softball team needs extra innings to sweep Cleveland State

Thomas Gallick

The Kent State softball team’s offense fell flat last night at Cleveland State, but the pitching picked up the slack once again as the Flashes swept the Vikings with 1-0 and 3-0 wins.

To complete the sweep senior pitcher Gabrielle Burns came out on the winning side of an old fashioned pitchers’ duel with Cleveland State’s freshman pitcher Brittany Bate in an 3-0 extra inning win.

Burns gave up five hits, including three consecutive singles to open the seventh inning, but came through with the victory. Burns struck out 13 Vikings in her seventh shutout of the season, including the first nine batters she faced.

Coach Karen Linder said Burns is determined to go out on top in her final season with the team.

“She wants to go out with a good year,” Linder said. “She’s very focused on doing her job. She’s very confident, very calm and not phased (with the game on the line).”

The Flashes (36-10, 16-2 Mid-American Conference) failed to score until the eighth inning when they scored three, starting when freshman designated hitter Jess Carmichael knocked in sophomore second baseman Heather Duhon with a single. Senior first baseman Jamie Fitzpatrick also had an RBI single in the eighth inning.

Senior shortstop Jessica Toocheck said the offense had trouble hitting off of Bate because of her slow pitching speed.

“We need to make adjustments a little sooner (on offense),” Toocheck said. “We finally made those adjustments late in the (second) game.”

Linder said one of the reasons the team recruited Carmichael was her ability to hit in pressure situations.

“She’s a really good hitter that likes to be up (to bat) in clutch situations,” Linder said. “She’s done it a number of times for us (this season). I’m always confident to have her up in those situations.”

The first game was also a low scoring affair with both teams combing for one run on eight hits.

Sophomore pitcher Kylie Reynolds dominated the Vikings, giving up only four hits and one walk in her second consecutive shutout. The shutout was Reynolds team and conference-leading eighth of the season.

Reynolds struck out six, including two in the seventh inning when the Vikings threatened to tie or win the game.

Katelyn Ciminelli, Cleveland State’s freshman first baseman, hit a leadoff double in the bottom of the seventh in an attempt to spark a comeback, but Reynolds retired the next three batters in the lineup.

Kent State also had four hits in the game, including two from Carmichael, who had the teams’ only RBI. Carmichael hit a solo home run in the fourth inning to plate the only run in the game for either team.

The home run was Carmichael’s sixth on the year, good for a tie for third on the team with Kent State’s all-time home run leader Fitzpatrick. Carmichael is also second on the team in RBIs with 29.

The Flashes wrap up the regular season this weekend at Kent State softball field with a doubleheader against Central Michigan Friday and games against Eastern Michigan Saturday and Sunday.

Contact sports reporter Thomas Gallick at [email protected].