Flashes to Take on Pittsburgh in Wednesday Doubleheader
The Kent State softball team will get its final tune-up before Mid-American Conference play Wednesday, in a 3 p.m. doubleheader at Pittsburgh (15-12). Earlier this season, the Panthers downed the Flashes 5-2 on Feb. 26 at the Wolfpack Invitational.
Live stats for both games can be viewed on www.pittsburghpanthers.com
The Flashes will get just one day off from competition before their conference opening doubleheader Friday against Central Michigan.
Despite a 12-14 record, Kent State's current RPI is 127 of 289 Division I teams because of its strength of schedule. Eleven of the Flashes' games played have come against Top 100 RPI opponents.
The Flashes have shut out five different opponents this season, including Coastal Carolina, who is 26-9 on the year.
In her last six games, Blanton is hitting .529 (9-for-17) with two doubles and two walks. Blanton has reached on either a hit or a walk in all 12 Kent State wins this season.
The Flashes totaled 13 hits in a 6-0 win over Colgate, giving Kent State its fifth game of the season with 13 or more hits.
Following a 4-9 start, the Golden Flashes have hit .283 in their last 13 games, carrying a 2.00 team ERA.
Pitt- The Panthers are coming off three close weekend losses at Louisville. In Sunday's 2-1 loss to the Cardinals, freshman pitcher Savannah King allowed one earned run in five innings. Senior Yvette Bravo went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI.
Junior catcher Holly Stevens has thrown out 11 runners on 16 stolen base attempts. She also leads the Panthers offensively, hitting .298 with four home runs and 18 RBI. Bravo is hitting .294 with seven doubles. King (11-7) carries a 1.29 ERA with 97 strikeouts and three shutouts. Freshman pitcher Alexa Larkin has also been solid, carrying a 2.87 ERA with two shutouts.
History vs. Pitt
The Flashes lead 12-5 in its all-time series with Pitt, after dropping their last two games against the Panthers. Last month, Kim Kirkpatrick (Olmsted Falls, Ohio) and Shannon Laughlin (Fairview Park, Ohio) each hit solo home runs in the 5-2 loss against the Panthers. Maggie Sevilla gave the Panthers a 4-2 lead in the fourth with a two-run homer to center field. She finished 2-for-3 with three runs batted in. King pitched 3.2 scoreless innings of relief to earn the victory.
Kent State fell to Pitt 8-0 last February. Last March in Kent, the Flashes led Pitt 5-2 after four innings, before snow forced the cancellation of the game.
On March 13, Emma Johnson (Groveport, Ohio) was named Mid-American Conference East Division Softball Pitcher of the Week. Johnson earned two victories in one day at the Maryland Round Robin. She came on in relief against Princeton to help give the Flashes a 9-7 extra-inning win. Immediately afterward, she got the start against Rhode Island and threw a one-hit shutout.
Johnson became the second Kent State player to win a conference award this season. Sophomore Abbey Ledford (West Liberty, Ohio) was named MAC East Player of the Week on Feb. 29.
The Golden Flashes scored 15 runs in a game for the second time this season, in a five-inning, 15-0 rout of Bucknell on March 4. Kent State also set a season-high for hits in a game against the Bison with 19, all of which came in four innings. The last time the Flashes had 19 hits in a game was in 1990, during the team's run to the College World Series. The Flashes also put up 15 runs in a victory at NC State. Kent State has scored 11 or more runs in a game three times.
Ledford leads the team with four homers and 20 RBI.
Johnson carries a team best ERA of 1.79. She has thrown 11 complete games in 13 starts and has fanned 101 batters. Johnson's 8.2 strikeouts per seven innings ranks 43rd in the nation.
McNeil carries a 4-1 record in nine starts.
Blanton has a team best .412 batting average, a .500 on-base percentage and a .544 slugging percentage. She is also hitting .500 with runners on base.
Grimes leads the way with 18 runs scored.
The Golden Flashes will play 10 consecutive home games, including four Mid-American Conference games this weekend. Kent State hosts a Friday doubleheader against Central Michigan, before taking on Eastern Michigan in single games Saturday and Sunday.