Softball faces early struggles at Texas State tournament

Joshua Aponte, Reporter

The Kent State softball team fell to an early 0-5 record after taking place in the Texas State Tournament this weekend.

The Flashes struggled to bring in runs over the course of the weekend, scoring a combined six runs over the five-game stretch.

Coach Eric Oakley said that despite the rough start he began to see progress as the tournament went on.

“Obviously a disappointing start but I think we finished strong,” Oakley said. “I think our at-bats started to look better as the weekend went on so I’m encouraged that as we go along we’ll get it in the right direction.”

The Flashes opened the season against Villanova on Friday and were shut out 3-0.

Both Villanova and Kent were held to three hits each. The game was tied until the top of the seventh inning when the Wildcats were able to bring in three runs.

Kent State next faced Texas State on the same day and were shutout 8-0 in five innings.

The Flashes totaled three hits but struggled to bring runners home.

Texas State took an early lead in the bottom of the first inning, scoring four runs. TSU tacked on another run in the bottom of the third.

The Bobcats scored three more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to complete the shutout, finishing with eight hits.

The Flashes faced Texas State again on Saturday and were able to score their first run of the tournament. It was the only run the team scored, losing 5-1.

Texas State answered first with three runs in the bottom of the second.

The Flashes then scored their first run of the season on an RBI single by freshman center fielder Bri Despines during the top of the fifth inning. She finished with two of Kent’s eight hits of the game.

Texas State went on to score again in the bottom of the sixth to defeat Kent State in back-to-back games.

Next up the Flashes took on Wichita State on the same day and were shutout 7-0. Kent was once again able to get runners on base with three total hits but couldn’t bring any runs in to score.

Wichita State finished with ten hits, scoring runs in the bottom of the first, third, fourth and sixth innings.

Kent State wrapped up the tournament with a rematch against Villanova on Sunday.

The Flashes took an early lead in the top of the first off an RBI single from redshirt freshman infielder Abbie Wilfing. Villanova answered back, scoring three runs during the bottom of the second inning.

The Wildcats tacked on a run in the third and two in the fourth inning.

The Flashes responded in the top of the fifth after Wilfing hit an RBI double, bringing in two runs for KSU. Junior outfielder Jade Ramer then hit an RBI single to bring Wilfing home.

Senior infielder Julia Mazanec was able to reach first base on a fielder’s choice, scoring another run for Kent State. Mazanec picked up an RBI on the play.

Villanova put the game away in the bottom of the fifth. The Wildcats scored seven runs as they defeated the Flashes 13-5. Wilfing led Kent State with three RBI’s, two hits and a run.

Coach Eric Oakley said that despite this being Wilfing’s first few games at the collegiate level due to injury, she was one of the standout players from the tournament.

“She’s seeing her first college action ever,” Oakley said. “She was one of the bright spots of the weekend offensively.”

Next weekend the Flashes travel to Baltimore for two games each against Niagara and UMBC.

Joshua Aponte is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected]