Story Courtesy of Kent State Media Relations
AKRON, Ohio - Kent State is just one win from playing for a title as the Golden Flashes downed Central Michigan 4-2 Thursday afternoon at the MAC Tournament in Firestone Stadium. KSU trailed 2-1 after four innings, before a two-out, two-run rally put the Flashes ahead for good. Kylie Reynolds fanned 12 and allowed just three hits in her second complete game win in as many days.
Kent State's first hit of the game came in the top of the fourth and Jess Carmichael made it count with a solo blast to right center field. It was the third consecutive season the junior has knocked a home run at the conference tournament. Carmichael's 11th homer of the year was also the 57th of the season for the Flashes, setting a new MAC single season record.
The Chippewas immediately responded with a two-run homer to right center by Amanda Patrick. The inning started with Katie Greenman chopping the ball in front of home plate and beating out a close play at first.
"Kylie came out throwing really hard," Head Coach Karen Linder said. "But they made adjustments and we had to start mixing more pitches in."
Chippewa starter Kara Dornbos retired the first two batters of the fifth, before Leah Archual drew a walk in a long at bat. Lauren Grimes then delivered the Flashes' second hit of the day, lining an RBI triple into the right center field gap. With Beth Cinadr at the plate, a pitch in the dirt by Dornbos got past her catcher and Grimes scored the go-ahead run.
"Leah had a really good at bat," Grimes said of the fifth. "The whole team was into it after that and it really got the adrenaline going."
Despite having just two hits in five innings, the Flashes led 3-2.
"Grimes has done that repeatedly throughout the season," Linder said. "She has the ability to come through in clutch situations. She's very confident out there and I was very confident with her up there because she had two very good games against them in the regular season."
Reynolds walked a batter in the fifth, but retired seven straight to close out the game.
KSU continued to make each hit count as Jess Blanton launched a solo homer to left in the sixth. The Flashes ended the day with four hits.
For the second straight day, Reynolds struck out the side in the first. She repeated her efforts in the bottom of the second. CMU put runners on second and third with one out in the third, before Reynolds fanned two more.
"Once you get to this point, every game is a battle," Linder said. "The team that makes the fewest mistakes and puts clutch hits together is usually the team that wins the game."
Kent State (32-20) is slated to play Friday at 5 p.m., against the winner of the Northern Illinois-Ball State game.