Softball ends four-game drought but loses series

Kyle Kuchta, Reporter

Kent State’s softball team outscored Northern Illinois 12-11 over the weekend.

Despite outscoring NIU, the Flashes lost two out of three games.

Kent State’s record is now 9-23 overall and are 4-6 in the Mid-American Conference.

Due to the ongoing renovations at the Divine Diamond, Kent State played at Baldwin Wallace’s stadium as the home team.

Northern Illinois is at an even record of 17-17 overall and improved to 8-6 in the conference.

Kent State sits in 10th place in the MAC conference. Northern Illinois is tied for third in the conference with Miami.

Game one

KSU opened the series on Friday with a win at “home,” beating NIU 9-4. The win ended the Flashes’ four-game losing streak.

Kent State scored nine runs on nine hits as a team. Redshirt senior pitcher Anilese Kelly earned the win, improving her record to 3-8. Kelly pitched a complete game, allowing just five hits on four earned runs. She struck out four.

Northern Illinois scored its first run of the game early, off a double to left center by senior infielder Kelly Walinski in the top of the first.

After a scoreless second inning, Kent State put three runs across in the bottom of the third.

Junior catcher Emily Lippe connected on a two-run homer to center. Sophomore utility player Delaney Robeson followed suit with a homer down the left field line to push the lead to 3-1.

NIU then took the lead back in the top of the fourth. Walinski homered to left and was followed by an RBI single from freshman outfielder Kiley Conner, tying the game at three. Freshman utility player Cara Cruthers doubled to center making it a 4-3 ballgame.

The score remained 4-3 until the bottom of the fifth inning. Sophomore utility player Savannah Wing drew a walk, scoring freshman outfielder Sydney Shammo to tie the game at four. A two-run RBI-single down the right field line from freshman infielder Reagan Schultz pushed Kent State’s lead 6-4.

Junior outfielder Jade Ramer tacked on another run with a single up the middle scoring Schultz to make it 7-4 KSU.

Kent State scored its final runs of the game in the bottom of the sixth. Senior utility player Morgan Bowers singled up the middle allowing two more runs to come across from a fielding error.

Schultz, Robeson and redshirt senior Alexandria Whitmore led the team in hits with two each. Schultz and Lippe led in RBI’s with two a piece. KSU had eight RBI’s collectively as a team.

Game two

Game two was the first game of a double-header on Saturday. It was all NIU when it came to scoring. The Huskies didn’t allow a run until the bottom of the sixth inning. NIU had five runs on 11 of their hits.

Kent State surrendered three runs in the top of the second inning to NIU on four hits in the inning alone.

Senior utility player Sam Mallinder scored the first run of the game, tripling to center field. Conner then reached on a fielding error allowing Mallinder to score. Freshman infielder Trinity Jones Estrada singled to left field for an RBI single making the score 3-0.

The score remained the same through three innings until the Huskies added two more runs off a single from Walinski and a throwing error from Kent State.

In the bottom of the sixth KSU tallied two runs. Lippe and Robeson gave the Flashes a spark with solo homers. Freshman utility player Danielle Stewart earned the win for NIU, going five innings of work allowing six hits on two earned runs with five strikeouts.

Freshman pitcher Macy Irelan was handed the loss after having a complete game of seven innings, allowing five runs with only three of them earned. She allowed 11 hits while recording five strikeouts.

Game three

Northern Illinois was able to hold off Kent State, hanging on for a 2-1 victory in the final game of the series.

Kelly got the call to start this game and didn’t allow an earned run, while fanning four NIU batters in another complete game outing.

Both teams were held scoreless before Kent State was able to take a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning. In the top of the fourth NIU responded putting up two runs of their own on just one hit in the inning.

Kent State had eight hits as a team and Northern Illinois had four.

Back on the road

KSU heads to Athens, Ohio to take on Ohio University for another conference game Tuesday afternoon.

OU is 21-16 overall with a 11-4 record in the conference. OU currently sits in first place in the MAC.

First pitch is at 3 p.m.

Kyle Kuchta is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected]