RECORD-COURIER STAFF REPORT
Freshman Ronnie Ladines did her best to send Kent State's five seniors out with a victory, but the Golden Flashes still fell 2-1 to Buffalo in a battle for the Mid-American Conference East Division title in the final game of the regular season on Sunday at the Diamond at Dix.
Ladines (6-6) was terrific in the pitcher's circle for Kent State, retiring 14 of the final 16 batters she faced. She had six strikeouts without any walks and allowed just five hits.
Still the Bulls won their second game in as many days over the Flashes, and overtook Kent State on the final day of the regular season to capture the MAC East Division title.
The Flashes (24-18) wound up third in the East at 10-6, behind Akron (27-14, 12-6) and the Bulls (27-20, 11-5).
Kent State earned the No. 4 seed for the 2014 MAC Tournament, and will take on No. 5 seed Ohio (28-24, 12-8) in the tourney opener on Wednesday at 11 a.m. at Firestone Stadium in Akron.
After a home run in the top of the first gave Buffalo a 1-0 lead, junior Kim Kirkpatrick tied the game with a solo homer of her own in the bottom of the inning.
The Bulls added another solo homer to leadoff the top of the fifth inning from Hayley Barrow, which proved to be the game-winner. Barrow had three of Buffalo's five hits on the day.
Kent State loaded the bases in the sixth with one out and had the tying run on second with two outs in the seventh, but came up empty on both occasions.
Seniors Abbey Ledford and Jessacca Gironda each had a hit in their final home game for the Flashes, who managed just five hits.