Solid defense doesn’t carry a win into second game

Colin Harris

Softball team splits doubleheader with Buffalo yesterday

Kent State’s Whitney Lebowitz dives into second base during the second game of yesterday’s doubleheader against Buffalo. Kent State won the first game 1-0 but lost the second 6-4.

Credit: Beth Rankin

In any sport, defense can be a team’s best friend or worst enemy. For the Kent State softball team, it experienced both sides of defense.

After rain and snow forced the weekend’s matchups to be postponed, Kent State (15-14, 3-2 MAC) finally took the field against Mid-American Conference rival Buffalo (7-21, 3-4 MAC) in a doubleheader yesterday.

The Flashes performed well in a 1-0 victory in game one, but were unable to keep the momentum, falling 6-4 to the Bulls in game two.

The Flashes started off strong, led by a smooth defense and an assertive performance by sophomore pitcher Brittney Robinson. She recorded a four-hit complete game shutout en route to her sixth win.

“A lot of my pitches weren’t working, so I had to overcome those obstacles,” Robinson said. “Luckily, we have a great defense and our offense came through when we needed it to, so it was a great team effort.”

Coach Karen Linder said she was pleased with the team’s performance in game one, especially the defensive effort.

“We played great defense and Brittney pitched very well,” Linder said. “She got ahead in the count, and we just supported her defensively. We took advantage of the mistakes they made in order to score that one run and that was enough to win it.”

As solid as the Flashes were in game one, they seemed to be equally as erratic in the second half of the doubleheader.

The Flashes showed determination early. They overcame a second-inning home run when Buffalo’s Melissa Pace gave the Bulls a 2-1 lead in the top of the second. Freshman designated hitter Whitney Lebowitz started the Flashes’ rally in the bottom half of the inning with a double. That was followed by an Ashley Fairhurst single, which brought Lebowitz around to score. After Sarah Durkalski was walked, junior second baseman Ashley Ball singled to score Fairhurst from second.

The momentum couldn’t last, as the Bulls took control of the game with a three-hit, four-run third inning to take a 5-2 lead. It was a lead they held for the remainder of the game.

Linder said she was upset with how the team came out in game two. The team’s defensive performance bothered her, most notably its three errors, which she said were at the root of their loss.

“In one inning, we had two walks, two mental mistakes and a physical mistake,” Linder said. “We didn’t play well defensively, and that allowed them to score enough runs to end up winning the game. We didn’t play defensively like we were capable of playing in the second game, and that’s what cost us.”

Linder said in order for the team to improve as the season goes on, it needs to become more consistent. She said the team needs to learn to put a complete effort forth in every inning on offense and defense.

Contact softball reporter Colin Harris at [email protected].