Flashes sweep up the Broncos

Deanna Stevens

In order to stay in the hunt for a Mid-American Conference title, the Kent State softball team has swept-up the field of opposition — literally.

The Flashes (22-20, 10-5 MAC) have just swept their third team in two weeks.

This weekend’s victim was the Western Michigan Broncos (23-12, 11-3 MAC).

The only MAC team to beat the Broncos twice, the Flashes did it in a dominating fashion with an 11-2 win in five innings yesterday.

“It was a great offensive output today,” Kent State coach Karen Linder said.

Western Michigan, once again, did their damage early. The Broncos hit a home run early in the first inning.

Down 1-0, the Flashes began three consecutive multiple-hit innings. In the top of the third, they scored four runs on four hits.

Sophomore Jamie Fitzpatrick hit a triple to right center to bring home three of her fellow Flashes, Whitney Lebowitz, Kim Hamilton and Corey Houk.

Senior Ashley Ball then singled to center and Fitzpatrick scored.

Back up to bat in the beginning of fourth, the Flashes continued to push the lead. Hamilton hit a single to left field, and a throwing error by the Broncos brought in Houk and Ashley Fairhurst.

And to bring the game to an end, Kent State scored five runs on five hits.

Hamilton then singled to left to score Verde. And to end the inning and the game, Hamilton stole home on a wild pitch by the Broncos.

The 11 runs came off of hits from multiple Kent State players. Seven flashes had at least one hit, while four had multiple hits.

Linder said the ability to spread out the hits was the main reason the team pulled out the win.

Robinson went the distance for the Flashes and pushed her record to 20-10. She had nine strikeouts, leaving her with 307, two away from breaking the MAC single-season record.

Linder said Robinson’s record-breaking season influences the defensive and offensive goals for the Flashes.

“Our kids feed off her confidence,” Linder said. “When she’s pitching like that we play better defensively. Offensively, we know that if we put three or four runs on the board, we’re going to win because she (Robinson) will only give up one or two.”

It took eight innings, but Kent State took the first game against Western Michigan in a 2-1 final Saturday. Flashes handed the Broncos their second loss in the MAC with a game-winning home run by sophomore shortstop Jessica Toocheck in the top of the eighth.

Linder said the sweep against the MAC West Division champions gives the Flashes the mathematical ability to win the MAC outright, but it depends on the team’s ability to play at its best for the rest of the league play.

Kent State began this weekend’s action with a doubleheader at Northern Illinois on Friday.

The Huskies (17-20, 5-8 MAC) snapped the Flashes’ six game win-streak by taking the second game of the series. They defeated the Flashes 8-3.

Kent State could not recover from Northern Illinois’ five-run first inning.

Northern Illinois took the early lead with a run in the bottom of the first. Once again the Flashes responded, and Fitzpatrick tied the score off an error by the Huskies.

Along with her run scored, Fitzpatrick went 2-3 at bat with two singles.

Kent State took and kept the lead in the fifth inning, scoring two runs. Another error by the Huskies led to another score for the Flashes, this time by Houk. Sophomore Hamilton then scored on a single by Lebowitz.

Once again the Flashes held the opposing team behind the strikeout tendencies of Robinson. This time she had 16, which set the single game record.

The Flashes host Penn State at 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Contact softball reporter Deanna Stevens at [email protected]