KENT, Ohio- Kent State and Bowling Green remain tied atop the MAC East standings following a doubleheader split Friday at the Diamond at Dix. The Falcons (19-14, 4-2) smacked a pair of third-inning home runs in a 4-2 opening game victory. In game two, it was the Golden Flashes' (18-18, 4-2) two homers that made the difference in a 3-1 win.
Behind another strong effort from junior Danielle Abernathy (Adairsville, Ga.), the Flashes led 3-0 heading after six. However, the Falcons put two runners on with one out in the seventh and leadoff hitter Hannah Fulk coming to the plate. Fulk laced a single into left field, but freshman Dani Ramos (South Euclid, Ohio) threw a laser to home plate to get the runner easily. The other runners advanced to second and third on the throw, bringing up Rachel Proehl, who singled up the middle. For the second straight play, Bowling Green Head Coach Shannon Salsburg waved the runner home from second and it was junior Lauren Grimes' (Tallmadge, Ohio) turn to gun down a runner. In a much closer play at the plate, the throw from center field ended the game.
"They practice it all the time," Head Coach Karen Linder said of the outfield throws to home plate. "They put a teddy bear on top of a bucket as a target in practice and they both did a great job with their throws today."
For the second time in three days, Abernathy earned a complete game victory. She fanned five and her only run allowed came in the seventh.
"They're a good hitting team and Danielle kept them off-balance," Linder said. "She got them to hit a lot of ground balls."
The Flashes' first home run came from senior Mary Holt (Providence, R.I.), who sent a second-inning shot to opposite field. A solo homer to straight away center by Grimes in the third gave Kent State a 2-0 lead.
"They both got on pitches and stayed on them," Linder said. "They were both able to really drive through the ball."
A bunt by Ramos and a pair of Falcon errors brought home the Flashes' third run in the fifth.
In game one, freshman Emma Johnson's (Groveport, Ohio) only rough inning came in the third, when she gave up all four of the Falcons' runs. Johnson went on to retire Bowling Green's last 11 batters.
"We hit a lot of ground balls in the first game and they made the plays defensively," Linder said. "So you've got to give them credit. We knew this was going to be a tough doubleheader."
Kent State continues conference play Saturday, hosting Toledo at 2 p.m.