Softball to host MAC opponents

Doug Gulasy

Junior outfielder Kim Hamilton waits for the pitch as her teammates look on during the game against Cleveland State. The Flashes defeated the Vikings 3-1 and will play a double header at home against Western Michigan at 1 p.m.

Sam Twarek | Daily Kent S

Credit: Ron Soltys

The Kent State softball team hopes to continue its Mid-American Conference success this weekend against two teams looking for revenge from last year.ÿ

The Flashes (21-14, 7-1 MAC) will meet Western Michigan and Northern Illinois this weekend, two teams they beat a combined five out of six times last season.ÿ

“They’re both very good teams,” said Kent State coach Karen Linder. “They’re both right in the middle of the MAC West, in terms of their records, and they’re both going to come in here hungry.”ÿ

Western Michigan (13-16, 5-5 MAC) comes to town first for a doubleheader today at 1 p.m. at the Diamond at Dix.ÿ

Despite the fact that the Broncos were first in the MAC during the regular season last year, the Flashes beat them twice at Western Michigan and then again, 2-1, in the MAC Tournament championship game.ÿ

“You know they’re going to be motivated to come in and play us,” Linder said.ÿ”I think our team has the attitude, ‘Come on, come in here and bring your best stuff, and we’re going to be ready for you.'”ÿ

Northern Illinois (16-19, 5-5 MAC) comes in for single games at 2 p.m. tomorrow and 1 p.m. Sunday. ÿ

“Northern Illinois is a scrappy team, too,” Linder said. “They will fight, and last year at their place, we split with them, but then we beat them in a one-run ballgame (2-1) in the MAC Tournament. So they’re going to be ready for us, too.”ÿ

Linder had all three of her pitchers (freshman Kylie Reynolds, junior Gabrielle Burns and senior Brittney Robinson) pitch in Wednesday’s 3-1 victory over Cleveland State. She said it was to get them ready for the games this weekend.ÿ

“You want to keep your pitchers sharp at facing hitters,” Linder said. “So that’s why we decided to use all three of them.”ÿ

Linder said she also wanted to give Reynolds, who pitched the final two innings against Cleveland State, experience in closing out games.ÿ

“Kylie has really never been in a closer role, because she usually starts and finishes games,” Linder said. “We wanted to put her in a role that she hasn’t been in a whole lot. So we wanted to give her that experience because I think down the road, as we finish the MAC season and get ready for the MAC Tournament, there’s a possibility she may have to do that.”ÿ

Contact softball reporter Doug Gulasy at [email protected].