Softball sweeps Buffalo as team keeps on winning

Thomas Gallick

Pitching duo of Burns and Reynolds shut out Bulls while the offense explodes in seventh weekend sweep

The softball team traveled to Buffalo this weekend and shutout the Bulls twice in 5-0 and 4-0 wins.

The Flashes (34-10, 16-2 Mid-American Conference) finished their third consecutive conference sweep and seventh of the season, thanks to strong pitching and a huge offensive weekend from senior shortstop Jessica Toocheck.

Coach Karen Linder said the team has the goal of sweeping and shutting out every team they play in the MAC.

“Anybody that we play in the MAC, we go in with the mentality that we’re going to sweep,” Linder said. “It really doesn’t matter who we’re going to play. We go in with the same mentality against Buffalo that we do against Bowling Green.”

Toocheck had two hits on the day, a double in the sixth and an RBI single in the seventh. Junior first baseman Chelsey Jones added a pinch hit homerun for Kent State, her second of the season.

Toocheck said she had success this weekend just by staying calm and trying to give the pitchers an offensive cushion to work with.

“I just tried to be relaxed and take every pitch one at a time,” Toocheck said. “We always have the goal to try to come out and hit well early to help out our pitchers.”

Senior pitcher Gabrielle Burns (15-5) controlled the pace of the game yesterday, giving up only three hits in seven innings and fanning 13. The Bulls failed to get one extra-base hit against Burns.

The shutout was Burns sixth of the season, and her performance moved her team-leading earned run average down to a minuscule 1.16, which leads the MAC for pitchers with more than 3 appearances.

Sophomore pitcher Kylie Reynolds (18-4), second in the MAC in ERA (1.34), also posted a shutout of the Bulls on Saturday with a six-strikeout effort. Reynolds leads the pitching staff with seven shutouts on the year.

The win was Reynolds 11th straight on the year and followed an impressive 9-2 win against Penn State.

Linder said she feels Burns and Reynolds are the best one-two pitching combination in the conference.

“Oh definitely (they’re the best in the MAC),” Linder said. “Every time they go out, they go out with the idea that they’re going to pitch a shutout.”

Toocheck was also explosive in the first game of the series against Buffalo, with three hits including a team-leading ninth homerun of the season. Toocheck also leads the team in average hitting .363, while starting every game for the Flashes.

Linder said Toocheck, along with the other seniors on the team, have come through in the clutch when the team needed them.

“(Toocheck’s) come through the most consistently of anyone in our lineup,” Linder said. “Overall our seniors have done a great job of coming through with clutch hits this year. (Senior left fielder) Corey (Houk) has done a great job in the clutch lately, as have (senior first baseman Jamie) Fitzpatrick and (senior center fielder Kim) Hamilton at times.”

The Flashes took a 3-0 lead in the second inning thanks to Fitzpatrick scoring on a throwing error, and a two-run homerun by Toocheck. The Bulls put themselves in the position to strike in the bottom of the second, with two singles to lead off the inning, but Reynolds fought back to retire the next three batters.

Toocheck and Houk added RBI singles in the seventh to secure the win for the Flashes. Houk and freshman designated hitter Jess Carmichael also had multiple hit games on the day with two each.

Kent State was also perfect on Saturday on the base paths and in the field, with four steals on four attempts and no errors.

The Flashes return to action Wednesday night with a doubleheader against Cleveland State.

Weekend Softball


Kent State 5, Buffalo 0


Kent State 4, Buffalo 0

Note: The Flashes move to 34-10 on the season with the sweep. Kylie Reynolds was the winning pitcher in Saturday’s game and moved to 18-4 on the season. The win was her 11th straight.

Contact sports reporter Thomas Gallick at [email protected].