Flashes freeze Vikings

Doug Gulasy

Three pitchers combine to toss one-hitter game

Junior first baseman Jamie Fitzpatrick calls to the infield after getting sophomore shortstop Christa Coppus out. The game ended in a 3 -1 win for Kent State.

Sam Twarek | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: Ron Soltys

When Cleveland State left fielder Whitney Willard led off yesterday’s game by knocking a base hit past Kent State senior third baseman Megan Verde, it looked like it might be a long day for the Flashes.

That would not be the case, however, as Willard’s hit would be the last of the day for the Vikings. Meanwhile, the Flashes scored just enough, winning 3-1 on a chilly day at the Kent State softball field.

“Cleveland State’s a very good hitting team, and so I think that was huge for us to be able to hold them to one hit,” Kent State coach Karen Linder said.

All three of the Flashes’ pitchers got into the game. Senior Brittney Robinson started and pitched two scoreless innings. Junior Gabrielle Burns followed with three hitless innings, and freshman Kylie Reynolds closed out the game with two hitless innings.

“We went into this game, because we had games cancelled yesterday, with the idea that we wanted all three of our pitchers to get innings today,” Linder said. “So for them to throw a combined one-hitter is really good, and it’s helpful for their confidence going into this weekend.”

The Flashes (21-14, 7-1 Mid-American Conference) didn’t take long to get onto the scoreboard. Junior center fielder Kim Hamilton began the bottom of the first by reaching base on an error, stealing second and scoring on junior shortstop Jessica Toocheck’s double. Toocheck was thrown out after rounding second too far, but Robinson doubled and later scored on junior left fielder Corey Houk’s two-out single.

The team increased its lead to 3-0 in the bottom of the second. Senior catcher Lauren Ellis and sophomore right fielder Katie Wheeler led off with singles. Senior second baseman Jessica Kramb followed with a ground ball to the second baseman, who stepped on second to force Wheeler but threw wildly to first, allowing freshman pinch-runner Leah Archual to score.

The Vikings (19-9) cut the lead to 3-1 in the top of the third with an unearned run off Burns. Willard reached on an error, stole second and scored on another error.

While the Flashes did not record a hit for the final four innings, they didn’t need to on this day, as three runs was more than enough.

“I’m not overly concerned about (the hitting),” Linder said. “We’ve been averaging probably seven to eight hits a game. I think we needed to hit the ball more consistently and have more hits later in the game. But at the same time, we didn’t really strike out. We still hit the ball, we hit it hard, right at people, and we popped up a little too much.”

The Flashes will host Western Michigan in a doubleheader tomorrow, with the first game slated to begin at 1 p.m. Northern Illinois will visit for games on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

Contact softball reporter Doug Gulasy at [email protected].