Four Flashes Homer in Sweep of Central Michigan
KENT, Ohio- Kent State players lined up to ring the victory bell, following a doubleheader sweep of Central Michigan Friday afternoon at the Diamond at Dix. The Golden Flashes (15-15, 2-0) opened Mid-American Conference play with a 5-2 victory in game one and overcame an early deficit in a 3-2 win later in the day. The Flashes scored all but one of its runs on the day by way of the long ball.
Freshman pitcher Emma Johnson (Groveport, Ohio) earned both victories with a complete game in the opener and 2.1 scoreless innings of relief in game two. Johnson went the first four innings of her start without allowing a hit.
Chippewa ace Kara Dornbos kept pace with Johnson for three innings, before Kent State unleashed five runs in the fourth. Freshman Dani Ramos (South Euclid, Ohio) started the rally with a single to left center. Sophomore Abbey Ledford (West Liberty, Ohio) reached on an error, setting up a three-run homer to left by senior Jess Blanton (Wheelersburg, Ohio). Senior Shannon Laughlin (Fairview Park, Ohio) hit a two-out double to right center and senior Mary Holt (Providence, R.I.) lifted the second homer of the inning into left field.
Central Michigan's only runs came in the seventh on a two-out homer by Cory DeLamiellure. Johnson finished with five strikeouts, while her teammates played sharp error-free defense, including six plays at shortstop by sophomore Alex Marcantonio (North Canton, Ohio).
Marcantonio came up with more defensive plays in game two and a key opposite field home run to tie the contest 2-2 in the fourth. Laughlin cut into Central Michigan's early 2-0 lead with a solo shot in the second.
The fifth inning proved to be the most telling as Johnson came on in relief with the bases loaded and got away unharmed. Freshman Kim Kirkpatrick (Olmsted Falls, Ohio) came through with a double off the center field wall in the fifth, moved to third on a groundout by junior Lauren Grimes (Tallmadge, Ohio) and scored on a single by Ramos, sliced hard down the left field line.
The Chippewas, who left 10 runners on in game two, threatened again in the seventh. CMU put two runners with one down, but a groundout and a strikeout looking ended the game.
"To start the conference season with a sweep at home is awesome," Head Coach Karen Linder said. "One of our goals this year is to have more sweeps than anybody in the conference. And we want to do the same with Eastern Michigan on Saturday and Sunday."
Sophomore Lauren McNeil (Akron, Ohio) started game two and junior Danielle Abernathy (Adairsville, Ga.) tossed 2.2 scoreless innings of relief. Defensively, Ramos took off at full speed in left field and laid out for a spectacular diving catch.
The Golden Flashes continue Mid-American Conference play Saturday, hosting Eastern Michigan (12-17, 2-0 MAC) at 2 p.m.