Golden Flashes falter in late innings, falling to Oklahoma 11-1
(LAS VEGAS, NV) - Kent State went toe-to-toe with No. 5 Oklahoma for five innings Sunday, but the Sooners pulled away in the final two innings in an 11-1 victory. The Golden Flashes led 1-0 after three innings and were tied 1-1 after five. The Flashes completed a 1-4 five-game weekend at UNLV's Sportco Kickoff Classic, with two losses at the hands of the Sooners at Eller Media Stadium.
"We did a great job through five innings," Head Coach Karen Linder said. "But we didn't recover from our mistakes quickly enough."
After being held scoreless in two games on Saturday, Kent State wasted little time getting on the board Sunday. A first-inning walk and stolen base by freshman Kim Kirkpatrick (Olmsted Falls, Ohio) was followed by an infield single from sophomore Alex Marcantonio (North Canton, Ohio). With Kirkpatrick on third, senior Shannon Laughlin (Fairview Park, Ohio) lifted a fly ball deep enough to right field to bring the first run home on a sacrifice fly.
"Kim (Kirkpatrick) has been playing with confidence so we moved her into the No. 2 spot in the lineup," Linder said of the freshman.
Oklahoma did not score until the fourth, when a two-out, two-base error proved to be costly for the Flashes and tied the game. Junior center fielder Lauren Grimes (Tallmadge, Ohio) then ended the Sooner threat in the fifth with a shoe-string catch, while running at full speed.
Freshman pitcher Emma Johnson (Groveport, Ohio) allowed just one unearned run on three hits in her first five innings of work. A one-out error in the sixth started a two-run Sooner rally, which included a hit-by-pitch and a wild pitch to put runners in scoring position.
The Flashes put runners on in the fourth and sixth innings, but their only hit came in the first. Oklahoma piled up eight runs on six hits in the seventh to make the final score a bit deceiving.
"Emma did pretty well, but I think she started to run out of gas in the seventh," Linder said.
Senior Maleeya Coleman (Sugar Land, Texas) and sophomore Lauren McNeil (Akron, Ohio) each came on in relief in the seventh. After fanning 12 Flashes on Saturday, Oklahoma ace Keilani Ricketts struck out eight Sunday.
"We had better at bats against her today," Linder said of Ricketts.
The Golden Flashes will take next week off from competition, before playing five games at N.C. State's Wolfpack Invitational Feb. 24-26. firstname.lastname@example.org or follow us on Twitter @SportsSentinel POSTED 02/12/2012 23:36