Flashes Smack 12 Hits in Game 2 Victory at Pittsburgh
PITTSBURGH, Pa.- Kent State will head into Mid-American Conference play with a little momentum thanks to an 8-5 victory against Pittsburgh in a doubleheader split Wednesday at Vartabedian Field. The Panthers (16-13) took game one 6-0, before the Golden Flashes (13-15) collected 12 hits in game two, including four doubles.
"I had a feeling we'd be slow getting started after not playing for a week," Head Coach Karen Linder said. "I didn't think it would take us as long as it did to put things together offensively, but once we did, we did a good job of taking advantage of their mistakes."
The Flashes overcame five defensive errors in their victory as sophomore Lauren McNeil (Akron, Ohio) and freshman Emma Johnson (Groveport, Ohio) combined to hold Pitt to four hits. Kent State also overcame a 2-0 deficit after two innings.
"The defensive mistakes we made didn't impact our offense," Linder said. "The wind was crazy today and it came into play for both teams."
With two outs and no one aboard in the third, freshman Dani Ramos (South Euclid, Ohio) sparked a three-run rally by reaching on an error. Sophomore Abbey Ledford (West Liberty, Ohio) followed with a double down the right field line on a hit-and-run to score Ramos. Senior Jess Blanton (Wheelersburg, Ohio) then placed an RBI double into left center field and sophomore Alex Marcantonio (North Canton, Ohio) brought her home with a single to left.
Ramos got things started again in the fifth with a bunt single. Ledford followed with a single to left and Marcantonio drove in two more runs with a two-out double to right center. Senior Shannon Laughlin (Fairview Park, Ohio) gave the Flashes another three-run inning with a single up the middle.
The Panthers got a run back in the bottom of the fifth to make it 6-3, but Johnson left the bases loaded with a strikeout and a foul out. Making her return from an injury, Johnson threw four innnings of relief, to earn the victory with six strikeouts.
"Emma getting us out of the fifth inning was huge," Linder said.
Another Ramos single in the seventh started a two-run rally. Ledford and Marcantonio each singled in the seventh, going 3-for-4 in game two. Marcantonio ripped a hard line shot in the seventh and totaled four RBIs in the win.
McNeil tossed the first three innings and did not allow an earned run. Ramos collected a pair of hits in each game, but Panther starter Savannah King did not allow an extra-base hit in her complete game shutout.
"Dani's more relaxed at the plate and as a result, she's seeing the ball better," Linder said.
Holly Stevens and Yvette Bravo each homered in the first inning to give Pitt a quick 3-0 lead in the opener. The Panthers added three more runs in the third against junior starter Danielle Abernathy (Adairsville, Ga.).
The Golden Flashes open Mid-American Conference play Friday, hosting Central Michigan in a doubleheader.