Robinson breaks MAC record in team’s loss

Sean Ammerman

Shortstop Jessica Toocheck tags out a Penn State baserunner and throws to first baseman Jamie Fitzpatrick yesterday during the first game of the doubleheader. The Flashes lost game one 4-0 and game two 4-1. STEPHANIE J. SMITH | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

Junior Brittney Robinson broke the Mid-American Conference strikeout record yesterday, but it came in a losing effort as the Kent State softball team lost to Penn State in a non-conference doubleheader, 4-0 and 4-1.

Kent State coach Karen Linder said the Flashes (22-22) played a “lethargic” two games yesterday.

“I don’t think the real Kent State team showed up,” Linder said. “We didn’t have any offensive production today. Our mental toughness was so-so. Our defense was so-so.”

The loss came to a Penn State (33-12) team that has won 12 of its last 13 games. The Nittany Lions shut down the Flashes’ offense, which has hit a school-record 37 home runs this season.

“Both of their pitchers actually did a good job of mixing inside and outside pitches,” Linder said.

Robinson only needed two strikeouts to break the MAC record of 309, and she got them in the first inning of game one. But they came after she allowed two hits and a run off a wild pitch. She ended the game with 10 strikeouts and allowed 10 hits.

“It was definitely bittersweet,” Robinson said about breaking the record. “It means a lot when a MAC school beats a Big Ten school, so that definitely was the main focus to come out on top against them. But I am excited about my accomplishment.”

Penn State went on to add one run in the fourth inning off an RBI single to center field and two runs in the sixth inning from an RBI double and single.

Meanwhile, Kent State could only muster up three hits.

Game two went much the same way for the Flashes as they couldn’t get their hitting going.

Senior pitcher Erin Christopher started game two for Kent State and allowed eight hits.

“She really did a good job of containing them,” Linder said. “They hit Brittney (Robinson) a lot harder than they did Erin.”

The closest the Flashes came to taking the lead was in the sixth inning when they were down 2-0 with one out and runners on first and second base. Senior second baseman Ashley Ball hit an RBI double that scored Kent State’s lone run of the evening.

However, the following two batters struck out after a Penn State pitching change.

“When you get runners in scoring position, you gotta come through with clinch hits,” Linder said. “That kills you when you get runners in scoring position and you strike out.”

Christopher retired the first two batters in the seventh inning. But Penn State ended any chance of a momentum change, getting two hits and then scoring off a wild pitch and a fielding error.

Linder said the errors were due to the team’s lack of mental toughness.

Kent State will try to bounce back in conference play this weekend as it hosts Buffalo Saturday and Sunday.

Contact softball reporter Sean Ammerman at [email protected].