The Kent State women's golf team battled the cold and wind to win the 35-team Kiawah Island Classic last Tuesday, posting a 10-over-par 298 in the final round for a three-round total of 28-over 892 that was 14 strokes better than runner-up Penn State.
"It was a really good win, especially with the conditions," said KSU coach Greg Robertson. "They came out and got off to a good start. They really played solid all day."
The Golden Flashes' Wad Phaewchimplee shot a 2-under 70 on the final day of competition to tie for first with an overall score of 4-over 220.
"In her second collegiate tournament she came out and won," Robertson said. "I'm really proud of her and what she's doing."
Erin Hawe had a strong third round of even-par 72 to finish in a tie for eighth place at 8-over 224. Jennier Ha shot 77 and Natalie Goodson closed with a 79 on Tuesday.
Kent State's season continues Friday at the Gator Women's Invitational, hosted by Florida.
Senior Corey Conners finished third individually to lead No. 22 Kent State men to a second-place finish at the 2014 Davidson College Invitational on Tuesday.
No. 48 Tennessee shot 587 to capture the team title by 11 strokes over the Flashes (304-294) at River Run Country Club in Davidson, NC.
"We played very well (Tuesday), matching Tennessee for the low round," said KSU coach Herb Page. "I was very encouraged by the way we played the back nine. The whole team finished by birdying the 18th hole, so we ended on a great note and have some momentum to build on going into next week."
Conners carded a second-round even-par 72 after birdying the final two holes, and finished the two rounds at 1-over 145. Teammate Taylor Pendrith made five birdies during a final round 1-under 71 and wound up fourth at 2-over 146, while Kyle Kmiecik placed 11th at 6-over 150.
"Corey (Conners) had a great tournament," said Page. "He was steady as usual, with two birdies and two bogeys. (Pendrith) also had a typical round with a bunch of birdies, and Kyle ended up with a very good 73."
The Flashes will attempt to defend their title at the General Hackler Championships at TPC of Myrtle Beach today and Tuesday.
No. 12 seed Kent State (7-22, 4-14) will visit No. 5 seed Ball State (14-15, 9-9) in the first round of the MAC Tournament tonight at 7 p.m. The two teams played twice during the regular season, and both earned home wins. The Cardinals defeated the Flashes 55-31 on Jan. 12, then Kent State won the rematch 60-57 at the M.A.C. Center on Feb. 2.
The winner will face the survivor of Monday night's matchup between Northern Illinois (10-18, 6-12) and Eastern Michigan (17-12, 7-11) on Wednesday at noon in Cleveland.
Kent State (10-7) fell to Tennessee Tech 5-2 and finished 2-3 at the UGA Softball Classic last weekend.
Sophomore Chloe Kesterson ripped a pinch-hit two-run homer in the seventh, the first hit of her collegiate career, but that was all the offense the Flashes could muster.
Junior Dani Ramos went 2-for-3.
In her second collegiate start, freshman Janel Hayes (1-1) allowed five runs on six hits in just 1 2/3 innings. Junior Emma Johnson threw 4.1 scoreless innings in relief, allowing just two hits while striking out eight.
Kent State split games on Friday and Saturday. In day two the Flashes lost to No. 19 Georgia 5-2, but defeated Tennessee Tech 1-0 in game two.
The Flashes led host Georgia 2-0 after senior Abbey Ledford belted her second home run of the season in the sixth inning, and were just six outs from knocking off a Top 20 school from the Southeastern Conference for the second time this year. But a five-run sixth inning was enough for the Bulldogs to improve to 16-1 at home.
Johnson (6-3) worked out of trouble repeatedly, stranding nine runners in the first five innings. But she gave up a bases-clearing double to Paige Wilson and a two-run homer to Alex Hugo in the sixth.
Johnson allowed just two earned runs and struck out five in 5 2/3 innings.
Senior Lauren McNeil and freshman Ronnie Ladines combined for a shutout against Tennessee Tech. McNeil (2-1) allowed five hits and had four strikeouts in five innings to earn the victory, while Ladines recorded her second save of the season by allowing just one hit with a pair of strikeouts in the final two innings.
Sophomore Lauren Kesterson plated the winning run with an RBI single in the fourth. She led the Flashes at the plate with a 3-for-5 performance on the day, while sophomore Shelbi Tilton and junior Kim Kirkpatrick had two hits each.
Kent State opened with a 1-0 victory over Purdue, then and lost 4-1 to Georgia on Friday.
For the third consecutive game, freshman Maddy Grimm delivered a home run in the top of the first inning against Purdue. That was all Johnson needed, as the KSU ace tossed her second one-hitter of the season with 11 strikeouts.
"That was one of the best games I have seen Emma pitch," said Flashes coach Karen Linder. "She had total control of her game, and our defense played very well too."
Ledford and Tilton had two hits apiece.
Against Georgia, sophomore Erika Warren homered to center with two outs in the seventh to deny Geri Ann Glasco a no-hitter and a shutout.
Ladines (1-2) allowed four runs (3 earned) on nine hits in six innings, walking three while striking out seven.
Kent State swept the weekly MAC honors, as Grimm was named Player of the Week and McNeil was chosen Pitcher of the Week.
Grimm earned MVP honors at the James Madison Invitational after blasting home runs in the top of the first inning against both Penn State and James Madison. She finished the day with five RBI and scored three runs.
McNeil earned a complete-game victory against Penn State, allowing just one run on four hits in five innings.
A relatively smooth ride through the early portion of the 2014 season hit some bumps over the weekend, as the Flashes were swept by host Liberty.
Kent State (7-6) had enough chances to plate runs against Liberty (11-6) in Sunday's series finale, but went just 1-for-13 at the plate with runners in scoring position and fell 9-1.
T.J. Sutton plated KSU's lone run with an RBI double in the third inning.
Freshman Andy Ravel (1-1) struggled in his first collegiate start, allowing five earned runs on five hits in just two innings with four walks and two strikeouts.
Zarley Zalewski and Cody Koch each had two hits for the Flashes.
Kent State was only able to bring four runs across in two games at Liberty on Saturday, losing game one 6-2 and game two 4-2.
In the opening matchup, Liberty jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the seventh. Zach Beckner (2-for-4) and Alex Miklos had RBI singles for the Flashes, but it wasn't enough to wipe out the deficit.
Brian Clark (Stow) suffered the loss, falling to 1-3 on the year after allowing six hits and two runs in 5 2/3 innings with a pair of walks and four strikeouts.
Tommy Monnot put Kent State up 2-0 by ripping an RBI single in the second and a run-scoring double in the fourth of the nightcap, but Liberty tied it in the fourth then added runs in the seventh and eighth innings to pull away.
Freshman lefty Eric Lauer (3-1) went a career-long 6 2/3 innings, allowing five hits and three runs with seven strikeouts.
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