Kent State softball’s ability to capitalize on errors and elite pitching performances helped secure a 4-1 performance at the Maverick Classic in Arlington, TX this weekend. The Flashes’ strong pitching performance was backed up by powerful offensive games from junior utility player Brenna Brownfield and sophomore shortstop Sabrina Kerschner.
Kent State 13 v. Kansas City 5 (F/6)
Kent State softball got off to a slow start against Kansas City in its first game of the Maverick Classic. On three errors, Kansas City scored five runs. It would be the only inning it would score, as the Flashes were able to regain their momentum and win 13-5 in six innings.
In the third inning of the game, the Flashes broke open the score after junior utility player Brenna Brownfield hit a double down the left field line. Followed by a walk and a ground out to short that drove in two more runs, junior second baseman Kaitlyn Miller doubled to left, clearing the bases.
“We’re a dangerous offense and you’re giving us extra outs; we want to try to take advantage of it. Hitting the ball hard, putting the ball in play, trying to put the other teams in the position to make mistakes, it’s a big part of the game. We did a good job with taking advantage of those situations,” coach Eric Oakley said.
The six-run inning put Kent State ahead, but its offense didn’t stop there. The Flashes scored seven more runs on a couple of base hits from Brownfield and a two-run homer from senior third baseman Olivia Sborlini.
Despite the five-run first inning, senior pitcher Madi Huck shut down the Roos’ offense for the last five innings. Huck gave up no earned runs (five unearned), allowed one hit and struck out two.
“Having offense is the best thing as a pitcher; your team’s got your back. It takes a lot of stress off you and it just makes you pitch even better ’cause you’re just so relaxed,” she said.
Kent State 6 v. Texas Southern 2
A two-run third inning was all Texas Southern could score off of Kent State after redshirt sophomore pitcher Andrea Scali came in for relief and pitched four and ⅔ innings.
Scali showed she was capable of coming in for relief as she didn’t give up a hit and struck out 12 in the Flashes’ 6-2 win over Texas Southern. Sophomore pitcher Anilese Kelly got the start for the Flashes, giving up two runs on five hits over two and ⅓ innings.
“I was just spotting the ball well and my curveball and changeup were working really well,” Scali said.
First baseman Brenna Brownfield had another 3-for-3 day and scored a run. Sophomore shortstop Sabrina Kerschner and junior second baseman Kaitlyn Miller provided the offense with more support as Kerschner scored two runs and Miller drove in three.
Kent State 1 v. Stephen F. Austin 3
A three-run home run from Stephen F. Austin’s pinch hitter Mackenzie Bennett was the only offensive support the Lumberjacks needed in their 3-1 defeat over the Flashes.
Redshirt sophomore pitcher Andrea Scali had another 12 strikeout day, giving up three runs on three hits over seven innings. It was her second loss of the season.
Kent State’s lone run came in the sixth inning from a single from senior Maria Cegledy. The center fielder drove in sophomore shortstop Sabrina Kerschner. It was the second time this season the Flashes had been held to just one run.
Kent State 1 v. Texas Southern 0
Prior to this game Kent State had lost both games where it scored only one run. But in Saturday afternoon’s game against Texas Southern, the one run from the Flashes would be all they needed in the 1-0 win over the Tigers.
“It was a good challenge for us and to come out four and one, we’re really pleased with that. At different points of the weekend, like the first day our offense was on fire and then it stalled out a little bit, but we still found a way to win two games 1-0 and that’s huge,” Oakley said.
The Flashes’ dominant pitching performance was led by pitchers Madi Huck and Andrea Scali. Huck threw six innings while giving up no runs on two hits and struck out seven. Scali closed out the day for Kent State, striking out three in the seventh.
“I think that we have just found a way to definitely work off of each other no matter who was starting. It didn’t matter to us. We were both ready to go in and work; our game would work off of each other,” Scali said.
Huck added that regardless of who is pitching, you want to be able to support each other.
“I think no matter who’s pitching, you want to be ready to go and you want to have each other’s back,” Huck said.
The lone run for the Flashes was a single from Morgan Bowers. The freshman utility player drove in Kennadie Goth. The run was unearned as the junior left fielder reached first on an error by the first baseman.
Kent State 1 v. University of Texas at Arlington 0
In the last game of the Maverick Classic, the Flashes only needed one run to walk away with the game.
In the bottom of the second inning, sophomore infielder Megan Turner singled to left and drove in senior center fielder Maria Cegledy. That run would prove to be the difference in the 1-0 defeat over University of Texas at Arlington.
“Hitting is contagious. And so, you know, when a couple of people go up there and they find a way to get on base then that kind of inspires everybody else. So this team’s energy is really good and they feed off each other really well,” Oakley said.
Turner went 1 for 2 with an RBI. Her run support was backed up by an elite pitching performance from redshirt sophomore pitcher Andrea Scali. She pitched a complete game, and only gave up one hit while striking out seven.
Kent State’s next game is Tuesday, Feb. 18 in Lubbock, TX against Texas Tech.
Amanda Levine is a sports editor. Contact her at email@example.com.