Softball’s offense powers victory over Cleveland State

Colin Harris

The Kent State softball team relied on three big innings to defeat non-conference opponent Cleveland State by a score of 8-3 Thursday night.

The Flashes (24-23, 9-9 Mid-American Conference) fell behind early, giving up one run in the first until junior Ashley Fairhurst scored on a freshman Jamie Fitzpatrick pinch-hit sacrifice fly to tie the score at 1-1. junior Erin Christopher scored later in the inning on an error to give the Flashes a 2-1 lead.

After Cleveland State’s J.J. Thornberry scored on a passed ball in the bottom-half of the second to tie the score at 2-2, the Flashes responded with a big third, featuring a double by freshman Kim Hamilton, scoring Fairhurst from first after a throwing error. Hamilton scored later in the inning on a freshman Whitney Lebowitz sacrifice fly, giving them a lead that they would not relinquish.

Capitalizing on four errors on the night from Cleveland State (18-24), the Flashes were able to pad their lead as went on to score four more runs with three coming in the fourth on a Fairhurst single, who then advanced to second on a throwing error, scoring senior Jodi Stevens, freshman Jessica Toocheck and senior Abby Molnar.

The Flashes received strong pitching performances by starter Christopher, who pitched 4 innings, giving up two earned runs and striking out seven. She was relieved by pitchers sophomore Brittney Robinson and freshman Gabrielle Burns, who combined to give up three hits and strike out six to stifle the Cleveland State offense.

The Flashes will return to action this weekend, as they host MAC rival Marshall University with three games on Saturday and Sunday to end their regular season as they get ready for the MAC Championships, beginning on May 11.

Contact softball reporter Colin Harris at [email protected].