Flashes bounce back from loss in opener, earn twinbill split
BOWLING GREEN _The Kent State softball team claimed its first Mid-American Conference East Division title by splitting a doubleheader with Bowling Green Friday.
The Golden Flashes (32-15, 19-7 MAC) dropped the first game 10-2 in six innings, but regrouped to win the nightcap 9-3. Kent State needed just one win to claim the crown.
"In the first game, the players were feeling pressure and weren't relaxed," said Kent head coach Karen Linder. "In between games, they were upset with the way they played but realized they could come back and play like they have been.
In the second game, the Flashes scored five runs with two outs in the second inning to take a 5-1 lead.
Senior Jennifer Pinti (Windham) got the Flashes on the board with a two-run double to deep centerfield. Pinti then scored along with sophomore LeAnn Fonner on senior Erin Welsh's single to left center. J.J. LaBenz then tripled to plate Welsh.
"Three weeks ago I talked with seniors Jennifer Pinti and J.J. LaBenz and told them we still needed them, and since that time they've really come through. They both did a great job (Friday)."
The Flashes added two more runs in the fourth inning on junior Denae Jones' two-run double and scored their final two runs in the sixth.
Sophomore Nicole Karasek won her ninth straight game to improve to 12-4, allowing seven hits in six innings.
In the opener, four Kent errors led to five unearned runs by the Falcons (20-24, 14-10).
Senior Erin Carey suffered the loss, allowing 10 hits and 10 runs (five earned) with four walks and three strikeouts. Carey's record now stands at 12-7.
Jones, who entered the game batting a MAC-leading .425, went 4-for-5 with three doubles, three runs batted in and two walks.
The Flashes lived up to their preseason billing as East Division champions.
"We knew we had the ability and we had high expectations for ourselves," said Linder. "It (the preseason poll) gave our players some confidence that they earned the respect of the coaches around the league."
Bowling Green 10, Kent State 2
(At Bowling Green)
KENT STATE 000 200 _ 2 6 4
BOWLING GREEN 103 033 _ 10 10 2
Erin Carey and Jamie Kraus. Garrett Gholston and Colleen Bates.
WP _ Gholston (13-10). LP _Carey (12-7).
Kent State 9, Bowling Green 3
KENT STATE 050 202 0 _ 9 10 2
BOWLING GREEN 100 002 0 _ 3 8 2
Karasek, Fleming (7) and Pinti. Hamilton, Gholston (2), Milosek (4) and Bates.
WP _Karasek (12-4). LP _Hamilton (5-10).