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KENT, Ohio - The Kent State softball team swept Buffalo Saturday (April 27), 4-1 and 7-6 in 11 innings, in a key Mid-American Conference doubleheader at the Diamond at Dix on Senior Day. With the sweep, the Golden Flashes are now 23-17-1 overall and 13-5 in the MAC East Division, two and a half games ahead of second-place Miami who stands 17-27 (10-7).
"It's always huge to get a sweep," Kent State head coach Karen Linder said. "It gives us some momentum going into next week [when we travel to Miami (Ohio) and Ball State]. It gives us a confidence boost. Getting a sweep like this is important for us to stay in the conference race."
Kent State and Buffalo were originally scheduled to play a two-game series with single games on Saturday and Sunday, but with inclement weather in the forecast for Sunday, the decision was made to play two today.
Sophomore right-hander Emma Johnson (Groveport, Ohio) improved to 18-9 on the season by earning both wins. Johnson started the opener and allowed no earned runs on just four hits with two strikeouts. Johnson then appeared in long relief in the nightcap, allowing no earned runs on five hits with one strikeout over seven innings.
The Golden Flashes won the nightcap, 7-6, in 11 innings when sophomore right fielder Kim Kirkpatrick (Olmsted Falls, Ohio) delivered a two-out RBI single past second base to drive home junior third baseman Caitie Kilbane (Westerville, Ohio).
Kent State had 11 hits in the second game, including two each from Kirkpatrick and junior designated player Jessacca Gironda (Akron, Ohio). Kirkpatrick finished with a pair of RBI.
Senior first baseman Lauren Balodis (North Royalton, Ohio) celebrated Senior Day during the nightcap with her second home run of the season, a towering solo shot to center.
Junior second baseman Abbey Ledford (West Liberty, Ohio) and senior center fielder Lauren Grimes (Tallmadge, Ohio) each had one RBI in the extra-inning win.
In the opener, sophomore left fielder Dani Ramos (South Euclid, Ohio) went 2-for-3 with a double, two runs scored and an RBI.
Kirkpatrick, Grimes and Balodis had the other RBIs in the 4-1 win.
Following the doubleheader, this year's four seniors - Balodis, Grimes, Danielle Abernathy (Adairsville, Ga.) and Natalie Bagby (Westerville, Ohio) - were recognized for their contributions to the Kent State softball program and their accomplishments as student-athletes the past four years.
Kent State returns to action for a non-conference doubleheader Tuesday (April 30) at 3 p.m. against Cleveland State at the Diamond at Dix.
DEKALB, Ill. – The Northern Illinois University softball team used the long ball to knock off Ohio, 2-0, in Mid-American Conference play at Mary M. Bell Field Saturday.
Solo home runs by Amanda Sheppard (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest) and Jennifer Barnett (Indianapolis, Ind./Roncali) in the bottom of the fourth proved to be too much for the Bobcats (24-24, 7-10) to overcome and give Northern Illinois (19-28, 9-8) the win the series opener.
Emily Norton (Oak Forest, Ill./Oak Forest) turned in another dominant performance from the circle, recording her second shutout in as many days. She scattered five hits and struck out five in seven innings of scoreless softball.
Norton pitched out of a bases loaded jam in the top of the fourth. With one out, the bags full, and no score, Norton got back-to-back infield fly outs to end the threat and give NIU the momentum heading into the bottom of the inning.
Sheppard broke the tie when she led off the Huskies’ fourth with a solo blast to left-centerfield. Two batters latter and one out, Barnett followed her fellow senior with a solo shot over the right-centerfield fence.
Nicole Gremillion (Missouri City, Texas/Elkins) kept the shutout in tact and ended the game in style when she threw out Amanda Dalton at the plate. After bobbling a Tessa Bailey single to left, Gremillion stayed with the play hit the cutoff man Ashley Kopp (Burr Ridge, Ill./Hinsdale South) who fired to catcher Erika Oswald (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South) to make the tag.
“Nicole’s starting to make the throw before she has the ball right now,” said NIU head coach Christina Sutcliffe. “We’ve preached all year long, stay with the play, keep playing. We’ve shown we’ve been able to do that.”
Barnett went 1-for-2 on the day with an RBI and a run scored, while Sheppard went 1-for-3 with an RBI and run scored. In addition to her prowess at the plate, Sheppard has played exception defense during this homestand. She made several outstanding plays and robbed several Bobcats of easy hits.
“Shepp’s been solid for us all year,” Sutcliffe said of Sheppard’s performance. “It’s nice to see her having success on both sides of the ball. She’s been considered a defensive specialist, but when I came here, I told her she could be special on both sides of the ball. She’s proven that.”
NIU returns to the diamond Sunday when the Huskies conclude their series with Ohio. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. Fans can follow all the action live via Gametracker at NIUHuskies.com.
This weekend is Alumni Weekend at Northern Illinois. NIU Athletics would like to welcome all former Huskie softball players, coaches and their families to Alumni Weekend April 26-28. There will be a pregame tailgate Sunday before the Huskies take on the Bobcats. For more information or to RSVP, contact assistant director of development Kyle Skarb at 815-753-9198.
KALAMAZOO, Mich. - Despite out-hitting Akron, 8-4, Western Michigan softball fell to the visiting Zips, 5-0, on Saturday afternoon at Fran Ebert Field.
The game hinged on two costly mistakes for WMU defensively. In the top of the second Taryn Allmon led off with a walk and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. McKenzie Rhodes reached on a fielding error to put runners on the corners. After Rhodes stole second, Lisa Lash popped out for the second out. The next batter walked to load the bases and a passed ball accounted for the only run of the frame.
In the top of the fifth, WMU registered two outs before Akron collected an infield base hit back to the pitcher. The shot rocketed right in Becca Shemberger's glove but her reaction was not fast enough to secure the third out. Two walks later, the bases were loaded. Rachel Ratcliffe cleared them with here eighth home run of the season.
Western Michigan had its chances offensively, stranding nine runners on base, at least one in every inning but the fifth.
Highlighting the day was sophomore second baseman Jenny Rohn, who went 3-for-4 with a double and two singles on the day. Loren Nagy also collected a pair of hits in the loss. Colleen Lynch, Megan Stamm and Christina Pigozzi accounted for WMU's other three hits.
Western Michigan will close out the weekend against the Zips at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Following tomorrow's game, the Broncos will play seven games in six days to close out the regular season.
YPSILANTI, Mich. (EMUEagles.com) – The Eastern Michigan University softball team made it three victories in-a-row Saturday, April 27, when it topped the Mid-American Conference leading Ball State University Cardinals at home, 6-4. The Eagles (15-29-1; 5-12 MAC) used solid pitching and timely hitting to get by Ball State (32-14; 5-12 MAC).
Jenna Ignowski (Niles, Mich.-Niles) made the start for the Eagles, getting her second win of the weekend and eighth of the season. Ignowski (9-7) tossed 5.2 innings in the victory, scattering five hits and allowing four runs, three earned, with five strikeouts. Lindsay Rich (Perrysburg, Ohio-Perrysburg) tossed the final 1.1 innings and surrendered just one hit in her first save of the season. Kelsey Schifferdecker (12-4) earned the start for BSU and allowed six runs on five hits before Audra Sanders tossed 2.2 scoreless innings to close out the game for Ball State.
Nellie Coquillard (Niles, Mich.-Niles) went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI, while Amanda Stanton (Homer Glen, Ill.-Lockport Township) kept swinging a hot bat, going 1-for-1 with a double and three RBI. Katy Blaharski (Carleton, Mich.-Airport) continued her hitting streak today, extending it to 13 games after going 1-for-4 and Courtney Loe (Temperance, Mich.-Bedford (West Liberty)) hit her second home run of the 2013 campaign.
The Eagles jumped out on top of the conference leading Cardinals early in the game by putting up a four spot in the opening inning. Jenn Lucas (Pinckney, Mich.-Pinckney) hit a one-out, infield single, and Amanda Herron (Columbus, Ohio-St. Francis De Sales) followed up with a walk to put runners at first and second for the hot-hitting Stanton. Stanton roped a double down the right field line to score a pair, bringing Loe to the plate. Loe launched a pitch over the center field fence to give the Eagles a 4-0 lead early on in the action.
Ignowski held the Cardinals out of the hit column until the nine-hitter, Taylor Cox, hit a soft liner into left field in the top of the third inning. After getting out of the top-half the Eagles threatened in the bottom portion getting the bases loaded with two outs, but Shifferdecker delivered a big strikeout to end the EMU threat and keep the game at 4-0 in favor of the Green and White.
Ball State took advantage of EMU miscues in the fourth to score a run. After the leadoff runner was retired, Jennifer Gilbert reached safely on a fielding error by the second baseman, Stanton. Taylor Rager then drew a walk to put runners at second and third. Another grounder was hit by Amanda Carpenter and Blaharski mishandled a grounder at short to allow Gilbert to round third and score the first BSU run of the game. Audrey Bickel drew a walk to load the bases with one out in the next at-bat, but Ignowski was up to the task punching out Sadie Robertson, then getting Selena Reyna to groundout to second and limit the damage in the inning and keep a 4-1 lead for EMU.
The Eagles responded in the bottom half with a pair of runs. After the leadoff batter was retired, Blaharski extended her hit streak to 13 games with a single through the left side, prompting the Cardinals to load the bases on a walk from Lucas and Herron being hit by a pitch. In the next at-bat, Coquillard ripped a liner into left field to bring home a run. With the bases still juiced, Stanton hit a long fly ball to just in front of the left center field fence which was caught, but the sacrifice fly gave the Eagles a 6-1 lead after four innings of play.
Ball State cut back into the EMU lead in the sixth after Carpenter ripped a double off the left field fence with one out. Robertson hit a slow liner into right field to score Carpenter from second to bring BSU within four, 6-2. Lauren Schroeder doubled to deep center field in the next at-bat to bring up Jessica Craft in a pinch hit role. Craft hit a two-run double to left center field to make it 6-4, but Rich came in to shut the door for EMU. She allowed just one hit in the final 1.1 innings of work, keeping the 6-4 lead in tact and picking up her first save of the season.
Eastern finishes out its home schedule Sunday, April 28, with a 1 p.m. start time. Sunday's game against Ball State will serve as EMU's Senior Day where Blaharski, Coquillard, Ignowski, Loe and Courtney Nicholson (Navarre, Ohio-Canton Central Catholic) will be recognized for their careers at Eastern Michigan.
Mount Pleasant, Mich. - Central Michigan Softball took game one against Miami 4-2 at home on Saturday afternoon. Back-to-back homeruns by sophomore Trista Cox and freshman Katelyn Rentschler propelled the Chippewas past the RedHawks.
Senior Macy Merchant led Central Michigan with three hits. She went 3-3 with an RBI. Rentschler and Cox each went 1-3 with solo homeruns. Sophomore CarolAnn Sexuaer hit her 11th double of the season and finished the game 1-2 with an RBI. Senior Kara Dornbos started in the circle for the Chippewas. She pitched a complete game, the 63rd of her career, and gave up two runs.
Jenna Modic and Kayla Ledbetter each went 2-3 with an RBI for Miami. Hailey Reed finished the game 1-2. Modic started for the RedHawks, but after 2.0 innings and two runs on the board, Paige Myers came as a reliever. Myers gave up four hits in 3.0 innings, including consecutive homeruns.
Central Michigan was blanked in three innings heading into the bottom of the sixth, tied at 2-2. Cox wasted no time at the plate, hitting a lead off homer over the left field wall. Rentschler followed suit with a long homerun into the pine trees over left field to put the Chippewas up 4-2.
Miami led off the seventh with two base hits to put the tying run on first with no outs. Taylor Shuey hit a line drive to first base, which was caught by Rentschler and then tagged first for the double play. Shanyn McIntyre grounded out to Cox to end the game.
The RedHawks took the lead early in this contest, as Shuey reaching base on a lead off single to left field. After a fielder’s choice caught Shuey at second, Reed hit a single to put runners on first and second. Modic hit a single to center field to score one, putting Miami up 1-0.
Central Michigan answered in the second inning. With one out, Brittney Horan singled to left. Sexauer then sent a long ball to the warning track in center field for a double to bring Horan around to score. Merchant, who walked in her first at bat, singled right up the middle to bring Sexauer home, giving the Chippewas their first lead of the game.
The RedHawks knotted the game up in the fourth with a homerun by Ledbetter.
Dornbos pitched her way out of a bases loaded jam in the top of the sixth inning to keep the game tied at 2-2. Miami had three base runners with one out before Dornbos struck out Allie Larrabee swinging for a big out. Kylie McChesney came up and after battling at the plate, hit a pop up foul ball to the RedHawk dugout that was caught by Rentschler.
Central Michigan will take on Miami again tomorrow, April 28, for game two of the series. The final home game of the season for the Chippewas will begin at 1 p.m.
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – The Bowling Green State University softball team lost to the University of Toledo Saturday afternoon, falling to the Rockets by a score of 3-1 at Meserve Field. The loss drops the Falcons’ overall record to 24-19, with a record of 7-10 in the Mid-American Conference. Toledo’s overall record improves to 15-30 overall, with a record of 7-10 in the conference.
Junior Erika Stratton led the Falcons with two hits on the day, going 2-for-4 with two singles. Sophomore Chloe Giordano collected the lone Bowling Green RBI, going 1-for-3 with a single. Sophomore Jamie Kertes (9-12) was credited with the loss, giving up three earned runs while recording four strikeouts. Sophomore Paris Imholz also saw action, allowing just two hits in the final 1.1 innings if play.
A pitchers’ duel carried a scoreless game into the bottom of the fourth before Bowling Green jumped to a 1-0 lead, crossing home plate on three hits in the frame.
Stratton started the inning with a single to center field, eventually making way for freshman Jessica Gregg as a pinch runner. Freshman Marisa Shook put down a perfect bunt in the following at bat, beating out the throw while moving Gregg to second. A sacrifice bunt moved the runners over once again, before Giordano belted a single to center field to bring home a Falcon run.
Toledo responded with a flurry of hits in the top of the sixth, crossing home plate three times on five hits in the frame. All of the Rockets’ runs came with two outs on the board, putting Toledo ahead late by a 3-1 margin.
The Falcons were able to muster two hits in each of the final two innings, but were unable to cross home plate, giving Toledo the 3-1 victory in the first game of the series.
Bowling Green will have a chance to rebound on Sunday, April 28, in an encore game against the Rockets at Meserve Field. The Falcons will be celebrating senior day, with all festivities set to begin at 12:40 p.m. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.