Flashes Take On Ball State and Miami This Weekend
In a rematch of the final two teams standing at last year's Mid-American Conference Championships, Kent State faces Ball State in a doubleheader Friday in Muncie. The Golden Flashes then head to Oxford for key East Division games against Miami Saturday and Sunday (April 23-24). At 6-2, KSU sits alone in first place atop the MAC East standings.
A Look at Ball State
The Cardinals shared last year's MAC regular season title with the Golden Flashes and went undefeated at last season's conference tournament. Ball State was picked to repeat as West Division champions in this year's MAC Preseason poll.
- 27 – 17 overall record, 7 – 3 MAC
- Team is batting .319 and averaging 5.3 runs per game
- 6 starters batting over .300
- Pitching staff anchored by Junior Kim Mazzapica (Palm Harbor, Florida) with a 2.42 ERA and sophomore Audra Sanders (Lynnville, Ind./ Tecumseh) with a 2.81 ERA
- Offensively, the Cardinals are led by two-time All-MAC selection and senior Alicia Barkley (Oklahoma City, Okla.) with 40 runs scored and 58 hits, and freshman Jennifer Gilbert (McKinney, Texas) who's batting .324 with 40 RBI
A Look at Miami
The RedHawks were picked league coaches to win both the East Division and the conference tournament in this year's MAC Preseason Poll.
- 5 - 2 over last 7 games
- Junior Pitcher Jessica Simpson (North Canton, Ohio/ Hoover) earned her 61st career victory last week, moving her to second on Miami's all-time career wins list
- Simpson also leads the MAC in wins (18), strikeouts (224), innings pitched (204.2), shutouts (11), and complete games (26)
- Offensively, the RedHawks have a balanced attack, with seven starters having at least 10 RBIs, and 8 players with at least 10 runs scored
All-Time Series and Last Season
Kent State holds a 44-27 all-time series lead against Ball State. The Golden Flashes won a pair of one-run games during the 2010 regular season, but fell to the Cardinals twice at the 2010 MAC Championships. KSU has won 12 of the last 15 meetings with Ball State.
The Flashes have won 13 of the last 16 meetings with Miami and lead the all-time series with the RedHawks 46-44. Kent State swept a doubleheader from Miami last season, winning a 12-inning marathon 2-1 in game two. Jess Carmichael homered in game two and went 2-for-3 in the opener.
The Golden Flashes will host local rival Akron in a doubleheader Friday (April 29) followed by single games against Ohio Saturday and Sunday (April 30 – May 1). Next weekend will be Kent State's final appearances at the Diamond at Dix.
• Shannon Laughlin carries a league-best .955 slugging percentage in conference play. In four MAC games last weekend, she hit .462 with two home runs, nine RBI, six runs scored, a 1.000 slugging percentage and a .563 on-base percentage. With her team down 7-3 on April 10, with two outs in the bottom of the seventh against Northern Illinois, she hit a two-run double as the Flashes went on to score three more runs for the comeback victory. Laughlin hit a key two-run homer in Kent State's 5-4 victory over Western Michigan last weekend.
• In her last 23 games, Beth Cinadr is hitting .467 with 12 doubles and 17 runs batted in. She recently had a 12-game hitting streak come to an end. In two games against Northern Illinois, Cinadr went 5-for-7 with three doubles.
• Cinadr leads the MAC lead in doubles with 14, just ahead of Lauren Grimes with 13.
• Jess Blanton went 4-for-8 in two games against Northern Illinois with six RBI. She hit a two-out, bases loaded double Sunday, bringing in three runs to complete Kent State's five-run rally in the bottom of the seventh.
• Jess Carmichael is tied for the MAC lead with nine home runs this season. She ranks second among KSU's career home run leaders with 34, trailing only Jamie Fitzpatrick who finished with 36. She recently broke Fitzpatrick's career record for runs batted in.
• Carmichael, Blanton, Laughlin and Holt all rank among the top eight spots in the MAC in RBI. Cinadr, Ledford and Grimes all rank among the top nine spots in batting average.
• Despite an overall record of 16-21, KSU has outscored its opponents 221-208 this season.
• Offensively, the Golden Flashes are having their best season since their College World Series run in 1990. KSU is hitting .294 as a team with 97 extra base hits in 37 games.
• Kent State began conference play by scoring 44 runs in 22 innings. The run rule took effect in three of KSU's wins. The Golden Flashes hit .369 with eight doubles and six home runs in four games. On April 2 at Toledo, the Flashes scored 20 runs in a game for the first time since 1980.
Close Games and Extra-Inning Games
• Kent State fell to 0-5 in extra-inning games this season following a 4-2 eight-inning loss at Penn State Wednesday.
• The Golden Flashes started the season 0-8 in one-run games, before winning their third straight one-run contest against Northern Illinois.