AKRON, Ohio – Central Michigan Softball advanced to the semifinals of the 2013 Mid-American Conference Tournament with a 1-0 victory over Kent State. The Chippewas will face off against Northern Illinois tomorrow, May 10, at 5 p.m.
Senior Kara Dornbos pitched her second consecutive shutout, giving up three hits and striking out four batters. Through two games, she has allowed just five total hits. Senior Summer Knoop hit her first career homerun, finishing 1-3. Senior Macy Merchant went 3-4 and made three putouts in center field. Junior Cory DeLamielleure reached base three times, going 1-1 with a walk.
Dani Ramos, Abbey Ledford, Erika Warren accounted for the Flashes’ (27-20, 16-6 MAC) three hits. Emma Johnson pitched a complete game in the circle, allowing seven hits.
In the top of the third with one out, Knoop sent the first pitch of the at-bat over the right-center wall for the first homerun of her career, putting the Chippewas up 1-0.
Dornbos walked her third batter of the game to start the bottom of the third, putting Lauren Kesterson on first. Dornbos threw her out at second on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Jessacca Gironda. With one out and a runner on first, Ramos hit a shallow grounder to sophomore Trista Cox, who could not make a throw in time. Kim Kirkpatrick battled Dornbos to a full count with one out before flying out to senior Brogan Darwin in left field. Dornbos ended the inning with a huge strikeout against Lauren Grimes.
After fouling three straight pitched, Darwin sent a liner out to right field for the first out in the fourth inning. DeLamielleure reached base for the second time of the night, hitting a grounder to shallow, center field. With one out and a runner on first, Cox went down swinging to bring sophomore CarolAnn Sexauer to the plate. Sexauer ended the inning with a fly ball to left field, leaving the Chippewas in front 1-0.
Ledford led the bottom of the fourth off with a single to center for Kent State. Lauren Balodis hit a pop up bunt to advance the runner but Cox made the catch and immediately threw it to Rentschler at first for the double play. Michele Duffy came to the plate with no runners on and two outs, but Dornbos got her fourth strikeout of the game to end the fourth inning.
The fifth inning started with a lineout to the second baseman by Rentschler, bringing Knoop to the plate. Knoop grounded to first for the second out on only the second pitch from Johnson in the inning. Merchant got her second hit of the game with a single to left field. Junior Raechel Zahrn kept the inning alive with a single to left, moving Merchant to second with two out. Junior Brittney Horan ended the threat with a pop up behind home plate for out number three.
Warren opened the bottom of the fifth with a double that rolled to the fence in center field. Kesterson advanced the runner to third with a grounder to Dornbos, who made the throw to first for out number one. Dornbos got a huge strike out on Gironda to hold the runner at third with two out. Ramos grounded out to end the fifth with Central Michigan leading 1-0.
Darwin opened the sixth inning for the Chippewas with a strikeout looking, bringing DeLamielleure to the plate. She reached base for the third time, battling her way to a full count and taking ball four. Cox followed with a long fly ball to left field, forcing Ramos to the warning track for the catch. Sexauer moved DeLamielleure to second with a shallow hit to center field, her first of the game. The bases were loaded for the first time in this game after Rentschler walked with Knoop on deck. The threat was ended by a diving catch in left field, snatching a hit away from Knoop.
Kent State’s Kirkpatrick grounded out to Horan to open the bottom of the sixth. Rentschler made a jumping stop on a chopper from Grimes for the second out of the inning. Ledford sailed a fly ball to deep center but Merchant chased it down to end the inning, preserving Central Michigan’s 1-0 lead.
Merchant led the seventh inning off with a single to center, her third hit of the game. Zahrn moved Merchant with a perfectly placed bunt in front of home plate. Horan sent a ball to the edge of the infield but the play was made for the second out, holding Merchant at second. Johnson and Darwin battled to a full count but Darwin struck out, stranding the runner at second.
Balodis sent a grounder to short for the first out of the inning. Merchant ran down a shallow fly ball to center from Duffy for the second out. Merchant made the final putout of the game to advance the Chippewas.
Merchant opened the game with a fly out to left field. Zahrn followed with a strike out, missing on a pitch from Johnson. Horan ended the top of the first with a high, fly ball to foul territory down the left line.
Dornbos opened the bottom of the first with a strikeout on Gironda. After taking a couple of pitches, Ramos grounded out to Sexauer for the second out. Kirkpatrick was the game’s first base runner, looking at ball four on a full count. Grimes ended the inning with a chopper to Horan at second base, stranding one runner.
Johnson continued to pitch well in the second, opening the inning with a strike out on Darwin. DeLamielleure represented the Chippewas first base runner of the game, taking an inside pitch to the arm. Cox advanced DeLamielleure with a grounder to short for the inning’s second out. With DeLamielleure on second and two outs, Sexauer battled off a few pitches before hitting a shallow fly to end the side.
Ledford started the second for the Flashes with a walk. Balodis attempted to move the runner over, but popped up a bunt that was chased down by Cox for out number one. Duffy laid down a bunt to move Ledford, but Dornbos was able to make the play over at second base, leaving a runner on first with two out. Warren ended the inning after fouling two pitches off to left, hitting a pop up to Sexauer.
Central Michigan will take the field again tomorrow against the Huskies (19-34, 7-15 MAC) at 5 p.m. The Chippewas swept Northern Illinois earlier this season on DeKalb, Ill.