Softball starts MAC season with BG, Toledo

Thomas Gallick

The Kent State softball team opens Mid-American Conference play today at 2 p.m. with a doubleheader against Bowling Green at the Kent State Softball Field.

The Flashes (17-7) continue their home stand tomorrow and Sunday with games against Toledo.

The team is 2-0 at home this season after winning a doubleheader on Wednesday against Robert Morris in which the team slugged six home runs. The team had only hit 13 home runs in 22 games going into the series against the Colonials.




When: 1 p.m., 3:30 p.m.



When: 2 p.m.



When: 1 p.m.

In the third inning of the second game of the double header, the Flashes hit three consecutive home runs. Senior first baseman Jamie Fitzpatrick, Kent State’s career home run leader, hit her first of the season, number 29 overall.

Kent State coach Karen Linder said the team needs to renew its focus to be successful in the MAC.

“I think your records go back to 0-0 (when MAC play begins),” Linder said. “You’re starting over and trying to prove yourself.”

Linder said she thinks other teams in the conference will be motivated to beat Kent State because the team won the regular season MAC championship last year.

“We have a target on our back,” Linder said. “We’ve got to bring our ‘A’ game every time we play because everybody’s going to bring their ‘A’ game against us. That’s good because it will keep us more focused and keep us sharper.”

A key to the success of the Flashes in conference play will be the performance of the pitching staff. Currently Kent State holds the lowest team earned run average in the MAC (1.34).

Sophomore pitcher Kylie Reynolds and senior pitcher Gabrielle Reese both have records of 8-3 and sit in first and second place in the conference in strikeouts with 106 and 93.

Reese said the pitching staff needs to make some slight improvements before conference play.

“As long as we keep the ball low (we’ll be successful),” Reese said. “All of us have good pitches, we have good rotations, as long as we keep the ball low and stay ahead in the count.”

Sophomore catcher Amy Hair, who hit a grand slam against Robert Morris, said the rest of the team gets a boost from how well the pitching staff is throwing.

“Our pitching staff is so strong right now,” Hair said. “They give our defense confidence and our confidence in them comes from the whole team. Our pitchers do a really good job.”

Linder said she knew coming into the season the pitching staff would be the main strength of the team.

“Kylie (Reynolds) was the pitcher of the year last year in the conference, so we knew she was going to be strong,” Linder said. “I thought that Gabe (Reese) would have a good year. I wasn’t sure exactly how good, but she’s really done a great job and been very dominating.”

Contact sports reporter Thomas Gallick at [email protected].