Softball bounces back, winning four-straight

Joshua Aponte, Reporter

After starting the season 0-5, the Kent State softball team went undefeated in its four games over the weekend against Niagara and the University of Maryland, Baltimore Country.

The Flashes overall produced 19 runs over the four games while their pitching held their opponents to only four runs.

“I think we pitched a lot better,” coach Eric Oakley said. “We were hitting our spots better and we were mixing pitches pretty well.”

Last weekend KSU scored just five runs over five games played.

“I think we were getting ahead in the count a lot more than we did last week. When you get behind in the count, now you’re having to hit the strike zone a little bit more and you’re throwing a lot more hittable pitches,” Oakley said. “I mean statistically, if you get first pitch strikes, you’re gonna have a better outcome, from a pitching perspective, so I think we did a better job of just getting ahead in the count.”

Kent State is now 4-5 on the season.

The Flashes defeated Niagara in the first game of the weekend 2-1. Both runs were brought in by junior catcher fielder Emily Lippe. The win went to redshirt senior pitcher Anilese Kelly with freshman pitcher Macy Irelan earning the save.

The Flashes then took on the UMBC Retrievers, winning their second-straight game 3-1.

Redshirt senior Alexandria Whitmore scored on a throwing error, giving Lippe another RBI on the weekend.

Lippe once again brought in a run herself during the top of the third inning with a solo home run to left field.

Then in the top of the fifth, freshman center fielder Bekah Zachrich singled to right-center field, scoring graduate student outfielder Jada Crittendon. The win went to senior pitcher Morgan Bowers and Irelan earned her second save of the season.

In the third game, the Flashes shutout the Purple Eagles 9-0 in five innings.

Lippe started things off for the Flashes, homering for the second time of the weekend to bring in two runs in the bottom of the first inning.

The Flashes scored four runs in just the bottom of the fourth inning. Sophomore designated hitter Delaney Robeson started off the fourth inning with a home run scoring two runs. Redshirt freshman Abbie Wilfing reached base on a throwing error which scored an unearned run. Then Whitmore reached on a fielding error, allowing Crittendon to score making it 6-0.

In the bottom of the fifth KSU added three more runs from a home run to center field by freshman catcher Bri Despines. The win went to Irelan, earning her first win as a starting pitcher. She allowed just three hits and zero runs through the five innings.

Oakley said that Irelan was dominant all weekend and really adjusted from the Texas State Tournament. “All weekend yet three saves and a win and a good job coming in and shut the door on teams as needed,” Oakley said.

The Flashes wrapped up the weekend with their fourth win in a 5-2 victory over UMBC.

Senior infielder Julia Mazanec had an RBI single during the top of the third inning to get the Flashes on the board. Sophomore outfielder Savannah Wing hit a single to left field, driving in two to make it 3-0.

Then in the top of the seventh Wing hit a homerun to center field. Lippe also hit a homer herself to right field to put the Flashes up 5-0.

UMBC scored two runs and had a potential winning run on plate during the bottom of the seventh inning but Crittendon made a diving catch in left field for the final out of the game.

The win went to Kelly and Irelan earned her third save of the weekend.

Next, the Flashes will visit Charlotte this weekend for the Queen City Classic for five games from February 24-26.

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