Softball loses two at newly renovated field


Matthew Brown

Kent State sophomore Jess Dodd steps up to batter during the final game of the double header against Toledo on April 15, 2023.

Kyle Kuchta, Reporter

Kent State softball lost its fourth straight series against a Mid-American Conference team this season, falling two games to none against Toledo. 

The  Rockets won both games against the Flashes with final scores of 6-4 and 7-5. 

Kent State finally played on the new Devine Diamond over the weekend. 

“It’s good to have the home crowd,” coach Eric Oakley said. “It’s nice to get back out there.”

Game two of Saturday’s double header was canceled due to lightning. 

KSU is now 10-27 overall and 5-10 in the conference, sitting in the ninth spot in the standings.

Toledo improved to 16-21 overall with a 9-10 record in the conference, putting the Rockets in eighth place in the standings. 

Game one

Kent State, in its first game on the new field on Friday, could not get the win to open the series, falling 6-4 to Toledo.

Redshirt senior pitcher Anilese Kelly started the game, pitching three innings. She gave up four runs on three hits and two walks, striking out two before being taken out. Kelly is now 4-11 after the loss.

Freshman pitcher Macy Irelan came into relief, finishing the game. Macy allowed two runs on six hits in four innings of work.

The Flashes put together six hits on four runs with one error as a team. The Rockets had nine hits on six runs with no errors.

Toledo struck first in the top of the second inning going up 1-0 on Kent State with an RBI-double to left center field.

The Flashes responded, taking the lead with two runs in the bottom half of the second inning. Sophomore infielder Reagan Schultz singled home a run and junior outfielder Jade Ramer brought a runner in on a  RBI-sacrifice fly  to take a  2-1 lead.

Toledo tied the game in the third with a solo home run to center field.  

Kent State regained the lead off a two-run homer to right field from sophomore utility player Savannah Wing making it  4-2.  It was Wing’s second home run of the season.

Kent State sophomore Savannah Wing chases down Toledo University fifth year Anna Dixon during the final game of the double header on April 15, 2023. (Matthew Brown)

A four-run fifth inning for the Rockets secured the victory in game one. A solo homer and a three-run homer gave the Rockets a two-run lead, 6-4. 

“We had two pitchers early on in the season that we were really counting on to pitch and both ended up having significant injuries, one of them is going to miss the rest of the year,” Oakley said. “A week ago just as we were getting ready to play Northern Illinois we lost another pitcher with an injury. Really the only two players healthy on the roster that were recruited to pitch are Anilese Kelly and Macy Irelan, they’ve carried us throughout most of the year.”

Game two

A double-header was originally scheduled for Saturday, but just one game was played due to lightning in the area. 

Kent State lost 7-5, dropping its second straight game. 

Despite KSU’s 11 hits in the game, the team only scored five runs, stranding 11 players on base. Toledo had 12 hits on seven runs. 

Kelly got the start again for the Flashes, going 4.2 innings and surrendering four runs on six hits and six walks. Kelly earned the loss again, dropping her record to 4-12 on the year.

Irelan came into relief and finished out this game yet again. She pitched 2.1 innings, allowing three runs on six hits and two walks.

KSU struck first in the second inning. Wing scored after senior infielder Julia Mazanec safely reached first on an error at first. Freshman catcher Bri Despines singled home a run on a RBI-single to take a 2-0 lead.

The Flashes tacked on another run in the third inning off a solo shot to center field from senior catcher Emily Lippe. This was her 10th home run of the season.

 Toledo made it a one-run ball game after  two RBI-singles in the top of the fourth inning.

Kent State redshirt senior Alexandria Whitmore stretches her legs at first base while she waits for the pitch during the double header against Toledo on April 15, 2023. (Matthew Brown)

The Rockets then took the lead in the fifth off a RBI-groundout. Irelan then walked in the leading run to make it 4-3 Toledo. 

Toledo tacked on two more in the sixth with two more RBI-singles to push the lead to 6-3. 

Kent State tallied two more runs to cut the lead to one in the bottom of the sixth. Despines brought senior outfielder Madison Hershberger in on a sacrifice fly. Redshirt senior Alexandria Whitmore brought the game within one off an RBI-single, trailing 6-5.

Toledo added another run with a RBI-double to left field in the top of the seventh, securing the win. 

Back on the road

Kent State is headed north to face Western Michigan for another three-game conference series.

First pitch is 3 p.m. Friday.

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