AKRON, Ohio â The Kent State softball team split a doubleheader with Akron on Saturday to take the series and earn a point in the Crystal Clinic Wagon Wheel Challenge standings. If the Golden Flashes’ women’s golf team is able to hold onto its 30-stroke lead over the Zips during Sunday’s final round of the Mid-American Conference Women’s Golf Championships, the score will be tied, 5.5-5.5.
After scoring seven unanswered runs to win the opening game of the series, 7-3, on Friday, Kent State fell behind by seven but continued to fight and scored the final three runs in an 8-4 loss to begin Saturday’s action at Lee R. Jackson Field. The Flashes carried that momentum into the second game and took care of their hosts in five innings, 12-1.
“This was a key series win for the team, and it’s great to get a Wagon Wheel point for the department,” said head coach Eric Oakley. “Our hitters had a nice weekend overall and we got the runs we needed in all three games. Ronnie has been consistent in the circle all season and had two great outings this weekend.”
Kent State (19-24, 9-9 MAC) outhit Akron, 16-15, with a 6-3 advantage in extra-base hits. Senior Maddy Grimm led the way with six intentional walks as the Flashes drew 11 free passes while the pitching staffed issued just two walks. Grimm homered and singled in her only two official at-bats.
Senior Ronnie Ladines was terrific at the plate and in the circle, leading the Flashes with four RBIs and coming within an out of her second shutout of the season in Game 2. Ladines went 3-for-6 with two doubles and a walk.
Juniors Emily Dobbin and Holly Speers also had three hits on the day. Dobbin hit a two-run homer and scored three runs, while Speers had a double and an RBI in addition to clearing the bases on a dropped fly ball hit to the warning track that was ruled a three-base error.
Game 1: Akron 8, Kent State 4
Kent State pitchers allowed a season-high 12 hits in an 8-4 loss that even the series at a game apiece.
Maddy Grimm gave the Golden Flashes a 1-0 lead with a solo home run in the top of the first, her 15th long ball of the season.
Akron took the lead with four runs on five hits, including a pair of doubles, in the second inning. The Zips added four more runs with the help of an error in the fourth to take an 8-1 lead.
Kellie Abeska started the next inning with a single, as the Flashes attempted a fifth-inning rally for the second day in a row. Vanessa Scoarste drew a full-count walk and Grimm was intentionally walked following a sac bunt to load the bases with one out. The Zips were able to get the second out at the plate on a ball hit back to the pitcher, but followed with back-to-back errors that allowed two runs to score and the bases to be full once again before getting out of the frame.
The Flashes scored another run in the seventh on a single by Grimm…