Softball busts out the broom sticks

Thomas Gallick

Flashes breeze through MAC behind pitching

Flashes’ junior infielder Kalie Germaine throws out a Ball State runner in the first inning of Friday’s doubleheader. Kent went on to defeat Ball State in the first game 2-1. DANIEL OWEN | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Ron Soltys

The Kent State softball team continued its domination of the Mid-American Conference by capping off a sweep of Miami with a 5-1 victory yesterday at Kent State Softball Field.

The Flashes (31-9, 14-2 MAC) only collected three hits on the day but still managed to score five runs thanks to Miami giving up five walks and two errors. The win was the team’s sixth in-conference sweep on the year.

Kent State coach Karen Linder said the offense was not especially potent but capitalized in pressure situations to manufacture the runs needed to win.

“I think we were putting pressure on their pitcher (more than the three hits suggest),” Linder said. “The thing is, we came up with three clutch hits and we took advantage offensively of their mistakes.”

Senior left fielder Corey Houk led the charge offensively with two RBIs on two hits, including a solo homerun to center field in the sixth inning. With the two RBIs, Houk is now tied for fourth on the team with 17 RBIs.

Houk said the momentum shifted in the game when the Flashes caught Miami’s sophomore catcher Alicia Hogl trying to score a second run for the RedHawks on a single by sophomore shortstop Sarah Billstrom in the first inning.

“We just stayed confident (after Miami scored in the first inning),” Houk said. “We took the momentum away from them throwing the girl out at the plate and went with it.”

Linder said Houk deserves more credit than she gets for the successful season the Flashes are putting together.

“I think Corey’s our unsung hero (because) people don’t always see some of the good things that she does and things that she gets done,” Linder said. “The first double to put the run on the board was huge, and then to be able to tack a run on late is huge. She’s just been getting it done very quietly and consistently over the last couple of weeks.”

Senior pitcher Gabrielle Burns (14-4) threw her second strong outing of the weekend, giving up one run in the first inning, but shutting out the RedHawks for the rest of the game. Burns closed out the game with three consecutive 1-2-3 innings and recorded 12 strikeouts in the contest.

Linder said Burns comes through late in games because of her competitive nature.

“She takes it personally when they score runs on her early on,” Linder said. “I think (Miami scoring in the first) really motivated her to pitch well the rest of the way. She’s a fighter (and) she’s a battler, so I think she just dug in and said ‘enough.'”

Kent State picked up its 30th win of the season against Miami in the first game of the series Saturday. The 3-2 victory marked the third straight season the team has won at least 30 games.

All of the Flashes’ offense came from a three-run home run in the fourth inning from freshman designated hitter Jess Carmichael.

Carmichael sits in second place on the team in RBIs (27) and third on the team in average (.267) in her rookie campaign.

Sophomore pitcher Kylie Reynolds (16-4) struck out 11 in the game, one day after pitching 11 innings in a doubleheader against Ball State.

The Flashes swept Ball State in two close games at home Friday.

Reynolds gave up no earned runs in the effort and struck out 14, while walking only one, in a 2-1 win in the first game.

Carmichael hit a clutch single in the bottom of the ninth inning scoring the winning run for the Flashes.

Senior shortstop Jessica Toocheck dominated the second game of the doubleheader with two homeruns, three hits and three RBIs in the 4-2 win. Burns and Reynolds combined for 14 strikeouts against the Cardinals in the game.

The Flashes play a doubleheader against Penn State on Wednesday at Kent State Softball Field.

Contact sports reporter Thomas Gallick at [email protected].