Lack of offense leads to six game skid for Kent State softball

Amanda Levine Sports editor

Kent State softball’s offense struggled against three top 25-ranked universities at the Wooo Pig Classic this weekend. The Flashes were outscored 42-9 against Florida State, University of Arkansas, Baylor and Villanova. 

Kent State 1 vs. Florida State 11

Redshirt sophomore Andrea Scali pitched her third complete game of the season against Florida State Friday. Over seven innings, the pitcher struggled with control, hitting two batters, walking five, but struck out seven.

Scali gave up 11 runs, 10 earned, on six hits in the 11-1 loss to Florida State. This was the first time this season Kent State played a top 10 ranked school. As of Feb. 23, FSU is ranked at No. 8 in the country. 

“Obviously when you know the balls are going over the fence, sometimes that’s a missed pitch, but sometimes that’s just a good hitter getting the bat on the ball. I mean those are good hitters. So it’s again, it’s the same thing. It’s a good lesson for her to see what she may or may not be able to get away with against some of the better hitters,” coach Eric Oakley said. 

The lone run for the Flashes came from junior right fielder Brenna Brownfield. In the top of the fourth, she launched her fourth home run of the season to left center. 

Kent State 5 vs. University of Arkansas 9

In the top of the fifth inning, the Flashes loaded the bases without recording a hit. On a walk, a fielder’s choice and error, and another walk Arkansas faced off against Kaitlyn Miller. The junior right fielder hit a single to right field scoring two. 

Her two-run single in the 5th and Kent State’s two-run seventh inning wasn’t enough in the Flashes 9-5 loss to the No. 21 Razorbacks.

“Obviously we were playing tough competition, but there were a couple of games where we really just didn’t perform well at all. So we need to work on making sure that we can let go of a bad performance and regroup, whether it’s from one game to the next or one play to the next,” Oakley said.

Kent State’s pitching struggled to limit Arkansas’ offense after giving up five runs in the fourth.  Senior pitcher Madi Huck got the start for the Flashes, throwing 3 and a third innings. She gave up five runs on six hits, while recording two strikeouts and giving up two walks.

Pitchers Anilese Kelly and Grace Saupe combined to give up four runs in their relief performances.

Arkansas’ Jenna Bloom recorded six and a third innings, striking out eight Flashes and giving up five runs (three unearned) on four hits. 

Kent State 2 – Baylor 5

The Flashes’ offense couldn’t be stopped in the first inning. Five Kent State players reached base and scored two runs.

Those RBIs from Brownfield would be the only runs Kent State would put up against Baylor.

The Flashes dropped their fourth-straight game against the Bears in a 5-2 loss. 

Huck was able to shut down the powerful offense for Baylor until the fifth inning. The senior pitcher gave up five runs, three unearned, over the course of six innings. An error and a fielder’s choice led to a three-run sixth inning.

Kent State 1 vs. Villanova 9 (F/5)

Kent State’s offense was shut down against Villanova, only scoring one run over five innings. Brownfield drove in the only run for the Flashes with a single that drove in Kennadie Goth.

A five-run fifth inning for Villanova was more than enough to beat Kent State 9-1 in five innings. 

Scali got the start for the Flashes, giving up six runs over four innings. She was still able to minimize the walks, only giving up three, and remained in control of her pitches, striking out four. 

Gabbie Sherman came in for relief for Kent State, allowing three runs on four hits in one frame. 

Villanova’s Paige Rauch held Kent State to just two hits in five innings. She struck out 12 Flashes. 

Kent State 0 vs. University of Arkansas 8

Going into the fourth inning, Kent State was only trailing Arkansas by two runs. The Flashes had scoring opportunities in the top of the first, third and fifth, but weren’t able to capitalize on those chances. 

Autumn Storms, the right-handed pitcher for the Razorbacks, held the Flashes lineup to just two hits and struck out two. The Flashes dropped their sixth game in a row, 8-0.

Scali got the start for the Flashes, throwing four frames and continuing to limit the amount of walks. Despite giving up eight runs on eight hits, she didn’t give up a walk and struck out seven.

Two of Kent State’s five hits came from Kaitlyn Miller. The junior second baseman finished the tournament going 6 for 14 with 3 RBIs.

“Kate Miller had probably our best weekend,” Oakley said. “Brenna and Kate are both pretty solid hitters and if we can get some runners on base for ’em, generally speaking, they’ll either move the runners or they’ll score the runners. In the brief moments that we had where we were having some success offensively, it did seem to come from our people at the top of the order getting on base.”

Amanda Levine is a sports editor. Contact her at [email protected]