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Miami sweeps Kent State softball in critical MAC series opener

Record-Courier Staff Report Published: April 15, 2017 4:00 AM

The Kent State softball team failed to finish in both games of Friday's doubleheader, falling to Miami by counts of 12-4 and 3-2 at the Diamond at Dix.

The RedHawks (23-16, 9-5 Mid-American Conference) scored eight runs in the sixth inning to break a 4-4 tie and win the opener, then used a two-out double in the seventh inning to erase a 2-1 deficit and complete the sweep.

Miami's Jenna Jones led off the sixth inning of game one with a homer to break a 4-4 tie, then delivered the knockout blow with a grand slam later in the frame.

A two-run shot by senior Ronnie Ladines gave the Golden Flashes (16-23, 6-8) a 2-1 lead after two innings. Miami went back ahead with three runs in the third, but junior Holly Speers -- playing her first game in nearly a month due to an injury -- tied it with a two-out, two-run homer in the fifth.

But the RedHawks rallied for eight runs in the sixth, taking advantage of five walks.

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Ladines (8-13) had eight strikeouts but allowed season-highs of 10 runs and eight walks in 5 2/3 innings.Rylee Whispel's two-out double in the seventh inning was the difference in game two.

Kent State collected its only three hits of the game in the second. Bailey Brownfield sent a shot back up the middle and moved to third on a double by Speers. Ladines then brought them both home with a single for a 2-0 lead. The Flashes loaded the bases with just one out but could not score more runs.

An error helped Miami get on the board in the fifth inning, trimming the KSU lead to 2-1. Whispel then came through with the clutch double against Kent State freshman Madi Huck (1-4), who went the distance and allowed just two earned runs on six hits while striking out six in her first career MAC start.

Kent State and Miami will meet in the series finale today at 1 p.m.

On Wednesday the Flashes knocked off MAC East Division leader Ohio 1-0 on an 11th-inning homer by Brownfield.

Delivering clutch hits has become the norm for Brownfield, who had three game-winning hits over the past 11 days. She hit a double to bring in two runs in the sixth inning of Kent State's 3-2 win at Central Michigan on April 1, and gave the Flashes a walk-off win with a two-out double last Saturday against Northern Illinois.

Ladines recorded her first shutout of the season, matching her career-high with 11 strikeouts in her longest outing as a collegian. She held the Bobcats to seven hits and walked just two of the 43 batters she faced.

Ladines and senior catcherNicole Teefy combined to make the play of the game for the Flashes. With the potential winning run on third and two outs in the bottom of the 10th, Teefy scrambled to retrieve a ball that went to the backstop and made a perfect throw to Ladines, who was covering the plate and applied the tag on speedster Deanna Cole to send the game to the 11th.

Brownfield kept the momentum going by leading off the next inning with her first home run of the season. It was Kent State's first hit since the fifth inning and only extra-base hit of the game.


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