Kent State does an offensive flip-flop in double header against Pittsburgh

Sean Ammerman

Kent State split a double header yesterday at Pittsburgh, winning its first game 12-2 and losing the second 4-0.

The Flashes’ offensive performance benefited in the first game from facing faster Panther pitchers, Kent State coach Karen Linder said.

“We’re very good at hitting pitchers with a lot of speed,” Linder said. “We came out right from the start of the first game hitting and that set the tone.”

Sophomore center fielder Kim Hamilton started the first game off strong for the Flashes, hitting a double in the first at bat. After a single by sophomore right fielder Whitney Lebowitz, sophomore first baseman Jamie Fitzpatrick brought in two runs in the first inning with a double.

Kent State junior starting pitcher Brittney Robinson kept Pitt scoreless in the first with two strike outs. She went on to pitch a complete game allowing only two hits and a total of 13 strikeouts.

The Panther pitching staff replaced starter Meghan Bostick with Christa Hunter in the second inning as the Flashes continued to swing a hot bat.

Kent State sophomore left fielder Corey Houk hit a two-run homerun over center field, and sophomore shortstop Jessica Toocheck, who was recently named Mid-American Conference East Division Player of the Week, hit an RBI single that brought Kent State’s run total to five by the top of the second inning.

Despite Kent State’s performance, Pitt was able to keep it relatively close. They scored a run in the second inning off an RBI single and another unearned run in the sixth inning on a sacrifice fly. This brought the score to 5-2 going into the seventh inning.

From there the Flashes took over, scoring seven runs and smacking out six more hits. An over-throw by Pitt’s Hunter to the catcher allowed two unearned runs to score. An uncontrolled ball by the catcher allowed Toocheck to score another unearned run. A double by Robinson into right field brought in two more runs, and a single by senior second baseman Ashley Ball brought in Robinson for the final run.

Robinson then pitched a scoreless seventh inning against the Panthers, which gave her the win and a team-high 10-9 record on the year.

The second game was not as successful for the Flashes offensively, as they suffered a shut out at the hands of Panther pitcher Laura Belardinelli.

“We were facing a slower pitcher that struck out our first two batters,” Linder said. “It took us a while to adjust to her.”

The Flashes could not take advantage of any of the four hits allowed by Belardinelli, and they left all four of their batters on base.

Kent State starter sophomore Gabrielle Burns kept Pittsburgh scoreless for all but the fourth inning.

The fifth inning saw the Panthers breakout as they scored all four of their runs in the inning and garnered five hits off Burns. The most damaging of these hits was a momentum-setting triple that scored two runners off second and third base.

“It was extremely cold windy, and that ball was hit hard.” Linder said. “It bounced off her glove. If she would have caught it would have been only one run.”

The loss brings Kent State’s overall record to 11-17 with a MAC record of 1-2.

Kent State will host a double header at home against Robert Morris at 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. today.

Contact softball reporter Sean Ammerman at [email protected].