KSU sweeps Zips off their new field

Deanna Stevens

In honor of the ground breaking of Lee Jackson Field in Akron, the Kent State softball team broke Akron’s six-game winning streak by handing Akron its first sweep of the season this weekend.

“I think the most exciting thing is it’s Akron’s first loss on their new home field,” Kent State coach Karen Linder said after Saturday’s game.

The Flashes (17-19, 7-4 Mid-American Conference) defeated the Zips (19-17, 8-4 MAC) 7-0 yesterday.

Junior pitcher Brittney Robinson was the first player to score for the Flashes, with a home run to left-center field in the fourth inning. She then scored the Flashes’ second run in the sixth inning off a single by senior catcher Ashley Fairhurst.

Leading 2-0 in the top of the seventh inning, the Flashes then put the game out of reach, scoring five runs off of five hits. Scoring first for the Flashes was junior Jessica Kramb off an Akron error following senior Ashley Ball’s single. Robinson also scored her third run of the game on the same play.

Ball kept the Flashes’ momentum going after scoring on a single by Fairhurst. She went 2-for-3 in the game, with a run and an RBI. Sophomore Corey Houk and Fairhurst scored off of a single by sophomore Kim Hamilton. Fairhurst was 3-for-4 with two RBIs and one run scored.

Yesterday’s game was the second Akron shutout of the series. On Saturday, the Flashes won 2-0.

While the offensive outburst led Kent State to its second win, a defensive shut down aided the Flashes in their first.

Robinson led the charge with 14 strikeouts, tying her career-high for one game. She posted a total of 24 strikeouts against the Zips.

“I knew Brittney would be able to contain them,” Linder said. “But it was a good job (by) Brit striking people out and the team making key defensive plays.”

One of those defensive plays Linder pointed out was a catch in deep center field by Hamilton in the bottom of the fifth inning.

While keeping the Zips off the board, sophomore Jessica Toocheck and Fairhurst made sure to keep the Flashes on top.

Fairhurst got the Flashes going with a home run to left center in the second inning. And Toocheck kept the Flashes ahead with another home run, this time to right field.

But sweeping Akron was not the only thing the team did this weekend. They played a doubleheader at Ohio (22-23, 6-5 MAC) Friday. The Flashes split the series with the Bobcats.

In the first game against the Bobcats, the Flashes fell 1-0. The lone run in the third inning was enough to snap the Flashes’ two-game win streak.

The loss was Robinson’s first in the MAC, and she finished the weekend at 16-10, 6-1 MAC.

But Kent State rebounded and took its first out of three wins by defeating Ohio, 5-2, in the tail end of the doubleheader. The Flashes and the Bobcats were tied after a homer by Robinson and a home run by Toocheck.

Three runs in the top of the seventh gave the Flashes the push they needed to pull out the win. Toocheck, Houk and freshman Dani Monson were the scorers for the Flashes.

Before the games on Friday, Linder said taking three out of four games would be ideal for the team since the MAC is ever changing, and the wins would keep the Flashes in the hunt for a title.

The wins boosted the Flashes to just one game behind the Zips for second place in the MAC East Division.

The Flashes are back on the road at 3 p.m. Tuesday for a non-conference doubleheader at Youngstown State.

Contact softball reporter Deanna Stevens at [email protected].