Flashes Win Third Straight Before Falling to Penn State in Split
KENT, Ohio- Although each game lasted only five innings, Kent State split a doubleheader with Penn State Wednesday at the Diamond at Dix. The Golden Flashes smacked 14 hits in the opener and needed just one out in the bottom of the fifth, before the run rule took effect in an 11-3 win. Penn State's Lisa Akamine then held Kent State to just two hits in a 9-0 shutout.
"I thought we came out ready to play," Head Coach Karen Linder said. "We did a nice job responding to their home runs and played pretty good defense, especially when they had runners on base."
After a Cassidy Bell home run gave the Nittany Lions a 1-0 lead in the first, the Flashes brought across three runs in the second on four hits. A single to left by sophomore Abbey Ledford (West Liberty, Ohio) got the scoring started and classmate Alex Marcantonio (North Canton, Ohio) followed with a double.to the gap. Seniors Mary Holt (Providence, R.I.) and Lauren Mokler (Uniontown, Ohio) also singled in the inning.
Another homer by Bell in third, narrowed the margin to 3-2, but Kent State came storming back with seven runs in the bottom of the inning. Ledford knocked the first of six hits for the Flashes in the third. Holt doubled to the left center field gap, scoring two and Mokler doubled to straight away center, scoring Holt. Penn State used three different pitchers in the inning, but the hits kept coming as senior Jess Blanton (Wheelersburg, Ohio) and freshman Dani Ramos (South Euclid, Ohio) each had RBI singles.
"We had a lot of line shots in that third inning and a lot of back-to-back stuff," Linder said. "We found the gaps and were able to score because we were driving the ball one hitter after another."
Junior Lauren Grimes (Tallmadge, Ohio) delivered the knockout blow in the fifth with a bases loaded single down the left field line. Eight of Kent State's nine starters recorded hits in the opener, including five players with two or more.
Freshman Emma Johnson (Groveport, Ohio) went all five innings to earn her 14th win of the year. She struck out eight batters.
In game two, it was Akamine's turn to strike out eight batters and the Nittany Lions' turn to score seven runs in the third. Penn State tallied six hits in the third, including a two-run double by Lauren Yao and a two-run homer by Kasie Hatfield.
"She (Akamine) had a little more speed than the other two pitchers and we seemed to struggle with her rise ball," Linder said.
The Golden Flashes will host Ball State in a pivotal MAC doubleheader Friday at 1 p.m. and single games with Miami Saturday and Sunday.
"I expect all four games this weekend to be battles," Linder. We're going to have to play good defense this weekend and our pitching is going to have to be sharp. We're all in position for the same thing and we've got to be ready for a fight to the finish."