Flashes Win Third Straight, Topping Toledo 6-5
KENT, Ohio- Kent State completed its second Mid-American Conference sweep of the season with a 6-5 victory over Toledo Sunday at the Diamond at Dix. Senior Shannon Laughlin (Fairview Park, Ohio) and sophomore Abbey Ledford (West Liberty, Ohio) each went deep, helping the Golden Flashes (20-18, 6-2) remain in a tie for first place in the conference.
The Rockets scored twice in the top of the seventh and had the tying run on base, before sophomore Alex Marcantonio (North Canton, Ohio) made the final play of the game at shortstop.
"I like how this team has taken a mentality of 'you can come at us, but we're still going to find a way to win'," Head Coach Karen Linder said. "I'm really proud of the way we stayed mentally strong at the end."
Ledford put the Flashes up 2-0 in the second with a two-run smash to left field, her fifth homer of the season. Laughlin started the inning with a double over the right fielder's head.
"The middle of the order really came through today and that was a huge positive for us," Linder said of her 4-6 hitters combining for five hits and five runs scored.
Junior Danielle Abernathy (Adairsville, Ga.) retired the first nine batters she faced, but Toledo took advantage of an error in the fourth to cut the lead in half.
Kent State came right back with two runs in the bottom of the fourth. Senior Mary Holt (Providence, R.I.) led off with a single up the middle and Marcantonio followed with a walk. Three batters later, freshman Kim Kirkpatrick (Olmsted Falls, Ohio) lined a two-out single into center.
Abernathy recorded one out in the fifth, before loading the bases and making way for freshman Emma Johnson's (Groveport, Ohio). A single by Brooke Gates trimmed the lead down to 4-3, before Johnson left two runners on.
"There were times we looked awesome on defense," Linder said. "There were times our pitchers did a great job and there were times we put it all together offensively. But we've got work towards being more consistent."
The Flashes answered again in the fifth, beginning with a one out homer to right by Laughlin. A single by Ledford and a two-out double to left center by Marcantonio gave Kent State another two-run inning.
"I think this team is confident, they're just pressing a little too much," Linder said. "They need to just relax and let it happen."
Abernathy earned her third win of the week, allowing two earned runs in 4.1 innings. Johnson claimed her second save of the year, giving up one earned run in 2.2 innings.
Kirkpatrick, Laughlin and Ledford each finished with two hits.