Another Productive Day at the Plate Leads to Split
BOCA RATON, Fla. - Kent State (5-8) continued to get offensive contributions up and down the lineup Saturday, splitting a pair of games at the Strike Out Cancer Tournament. A four-run lead turned into a 14-5 loss to Connecticut, before all nine starters notched hits in 12-8 victory over tournament host Florida Atlantic.
"We sat the middle of our order and still got 12 hits against a pretty good team," Head Coach Karen Linder said of not playing her usual 3-4-5 hitters against Florida Atlantic. "And we were productive with runners on base."
The offense did not let up in the third as as sophomore Abby Rhodes sent an RBI double to right and later scored on a wild pitch. The doubles kept coming in the fourth when a two-bagger by Sarah Starr gave the Flashes a 7-1 lead.
Freshman Lauren McNeil was solid in her first four innings, but the Owls got to her in the fifth with three runs. McNeil earned the victory, but sophomore Danielle Abernathy tossed the last two innings.
KSU kept the offensive pedal down in the bottom of the fifth, beginning with a solo homer to left from Rhodes. KSU went on to score four runs in the fifth and one in the sixth behind its fourth double of the game, this time from Lauren Mokler.
Making only her second start of the year, Mokler went 2-for-2 with a walk, a hit by pitch and three runs scored. Rhodes also made just her second start of the year and scored three times.
"Lauren (Mokler) and Abby both came up with some big hits in that game," Linder said. "Abby also had a couple of nice plays at third."
The Golden Flashes led the Huskies 5-1 after two innings. Grimes and junior Jess Blanton each had singles in KSU's three-run first. Kent State took advantage of Connecticut errors in both the first and second innings. Freshman Alex Marcantonio knocked an RBI triple in the second and scored on an error. Marcantonio went 3-for-4 on the day with four walks and four runs scored.
The Huskies responded with two runs in the third and two more in the fourth. A one-out walk followed by an infield hit, got things going for UConn in the third. A leadoff walk spelled trouble for the Flashes in the bottom of the fourth as they were forced to make their second pitching change of the game.
"We gave up 10 walks on the day and made six errors," Linder said. "That's just too many. And on a few occasions the walks, hits and errors all came in the same inning."
Four Connecticut singles in the fifth gave the Huskies a 7-5 before everything began to unravel for Kent State in the sixth. The Flashes committed three errors in the sixth, including one to start the inning, while the Huskies knocked four more hits.
"Shannon, Lauren Grimes and Alex have all been consistent at the plate this year," Linder said. "Other players have been up and down, but we do have a lot options this year."
The Golden Flashes will play its fifth and final game of the Strike Out Cancer Tournament Sunday.