Kent State Bats Struggle Against Oklahoma and Minnesota
LAS VEGAS- Kent State ran into a pair of top-notch pitchers Saturday at the Sportco Kickoff Classic, falling to No. 5 Oklahoma 6-0 and Minnesota 2-0 at UNLV's Eller Media Stadium. The Golden Flashes were held to just two hits on the day.
The Flashes had some solid pitching of their own in game two from freshman Emma Johnson (Groveport, Ohio), who allowed just one earned run in six innings against the Golden Gophers. Over two days, Johnson has permitted just one earned run in 15 innings.
"We were very good defensively," Head Coach Karen Linder said. "Emma pitched well again. We had some good at bats in both games, but we need to have a little better pitch selection and get the bat on the ball more consistently."
Minnesota starting pitcher Sara Moulton tossed a no-hitter, striking out nine. The no-hit effort was the last thing on the Gophers' minds in the top of the fifth up 1-0 when the Flashes put runners on second and third with one out.
Senior Jess Blanton (Wheelersburg, Ohio) reached first on a dropped third strike and sophomore Caitie Kilbane (Westerville, Ohio) walked to put the first two batters aboard. Senior Mary Holt (Providence, R.I.) moved runners over on a bunt, but Moulton recorded a big strikeout for the second out. A hit-by-pitch loaded the bases and a grounder to third ended the inning.
Minnesota added a run in the sixth and the Flashes could not put a runner on in the seventh.
Two-time All-American Keilani Ricketts went the distance for Oklahoma, fanning 12. Kent State kept the game within reach, trailing 3-0 after five innings.
With her team trailing 1-0 in the top of the third, Kilbane smacked a one-out double into right field, but Ricketts struck out the next two batters swinging.
Sophomore Abbey Ledford (West Liberty, Ohio) singled up the middle in the seventh and Blanton walked, but the Flashes stranded two runners as Ricketts ended the game with a strikeout.
Sophomore Lauren McNeil (Akron, Ohio) pitched six innings against the Sooners.
The Golden Flashes (1-3) will take on No. 5 Oklahoma (4-0) once again on Sunday to close out the five-game weekend. First pitch is scheduled for noon Eastern.