Win-lose situation for Flashes in Penn State doubleheader

Thomas Gallick

The Kent State softball team won the first game of a doubleheader 9-2 yesterday against Penn State, but fell in the second game 2-0 in extra innings when the team’s bats fell silent.

Kent State (32-10) opened the first game with a three-run first inning, which would be all of the offense they needed.

Sophomore pitcher Kylie Reynolds, who won her fourth Mid-American Conference pitcher of the week honor last week, shut down the Nittany Lions, allowing only two runs in seven innings. She also struck out 13 of the 29 batters she faced while walking none.

Reynolds said she was surprised by how well she pitched because she felt she did not have her best stuff while preparing for the start.

“It was actually an interesting day because in the bullpen I wasn’t throwing so well,” Reynolds said. “Just trying to stay mentally strong, I think, was the big thing today because I didn’t necessarily have my best pitches. I just kind of had to work with what I had . and try to stay ahead in the count.”

Senior first baseman Jamie Fitzpatrick led the way offensively for the Flashes in the game with two hits, including a home run in the first, and four RBIs. The home run was Fitzpatrick’s sixth of the season and 34th all-time.

Senior center fielder Kim Hamilton and senior left fielder Corey Houk also hit home runs for Kent State in the game.

The Flashes offensive fire power was nowhere to be seen in the second game, with Penn State freshman pitcher Jackie Hill dominating the match. Hill limited Kent State’s batters to two hits in the game and struck out seven.

Coach Karen Linder said Hill’s slower pitching was a change of pace and kept the Flashes from getting hits.

“Their pitcher (Hill) was slow, had a good rotation on her curve ball, and we couldn’t stay back and wait on it long enough,” Linder said. “So we popped up a lot more than what we normally do, and I think there were some shots that we hit, but because the wind was blowing out to right (field) and we hit them to left (field), they got hung up.”

Senior pitcher Gabrielle Burns started the second game for the Flashes and kept Penn State off of the scoreboard until the eighth inning. The Nittany Lions loaded the bases against Burns in the eighth inning, and junior right fielder Sam Hovanec proceeded to bust the game open by hitting a two-RBI single to left field.

After Burns gave up the eventual game-winning single, Reynolds came on in relief and struck out the only two batters she faced.

“I think Gabe did her job too,” Linder said. “It was (because of) offense that we lost. I mean, we lost because we did not produce runs early enough.”

Linder said she may have made a mistake by not calling to the bullpen earlier in the eighth inning.

“I probably may have left (Burns) in a little bit too long, but she’s been able to get out of those jams in other situations,” Linder said. “She’s proven that she can get out of those jams. I think the loss was a result of the offense.”

The Flashes return to action this weekend with games at Buffalo Saturday and Sunday.

Contact sports reporter Thomas Gallick at [email protected].