Record-Courier staff report
After one of the toughest non-league schedules in Kent State softball history, if not the toughest, the Golden Flashes opened up Mid-American Conference play on Friday with a pair of losses to the Miami RedHawks.
KSU entered league play after having played eight of its first 26 games against teams ranked in the top 20 in the country, winning one of those and having the opportunity to steal maybe a few more.
However, the RedHawks pulled out both games on Friday -- 9-2 in the opener and 4-3 in the second matchup -- in games played at the University of Akron's Lee Jackson Field after it was determined that the Diamond at Dix was unplayable.
In the first game, Miami (13-15, 2-0 MAC) jumped on Kent State pitcher Emma Johnson for a pair of runs in each of the game's first two innings for a 4-0 lead.
Kent State (14-14, 0-2 MAC) cut the deficit in half with a pair of runs in the third inning when Kim Kirkpatrick scored on an error, then Dani Ramos scored on a groundout by Abbey Ledford.
The RedHawks answered right back in the top of the fourth inning with three runs to boost their advantage to 7-2. Miami added two more runs in the top of the seventh.
In game two, Miami again was the first to score when Kristy Arbour scored on Bree Lipscomb hit for a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning.
Kent State tied it at 1-1 in the second inning on an RBI single by Lauren Kesterson that raced home Ariele Patterson.
The score remained deadlocked until Miami pushed two more across in the fifth inning. Those runs were equaled by Kent State in the bottom of the sixth. Kesterson again delivered, hitting a double down the left-field line that scored Ledford and Ramos.
Miami scored the game-winning run in the top of the ninth inning on a rally that resulted in a sacrifice fly by Allie Larrabee that scored Taylor Shuey.
Emma Johnson registered the loss in game one for the Flashes and dropped her season record to 7-7. Game two's loss went to Ronnie Ladines (3-4).
Kent State is off today, then will return to the Diamond at Dix on Sunday to play Ball State in a double-header that is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.