CMU sweeps Kent State in a home opening double header

Senior outfielder Kelsey Alexander swings at the plate during a game against Kent State Tuesday, March 28 at Margo Jonker Stadium. Alexander had four hits on the day.

Three home runs, three doubles and two triples from Central Michigan softball secured the 10-2 win in the second game of the double header to sweep Kent State University in the Chippewas home opener on Tuesday. 

Senior Kelsey Alexander led the Chippewas offensively in game two with a double, triple and a home run. 

In the first game of the season at Margo Jonker Stadium, the Chippewas got a 3-0 win over the Golden Flashes to snap their four-game losing streak to open the double header. 

Junior pitcher Grace Lehto got the start in the circle in the opening game on Tuesday, pitching a shutout to give her the win to go to 4-8 on the season. In seven innings, Lehto gave up no runs on six hits with two strikeouts and no walks. 

“Anytime you end the day with two Ws, it's a huge confidence builder,” head coach McCall Salmon said. “I think moving into tomorrow, we talked, you know, from a conference standpoint, trying to win every series. We got the sweep today, and we'll be looking to get the complete sweep tomorrow. But, you know, we have to come out exactly how we did today. Stay composed, have fun, stay loose, and just, you know, take it one pitch at a time.”

The Chippewas are 12-16 over all and 2-3 in the Mid-American Conference. 

Game 1 

With a shutout from Lehto, CMU defeated Kent State 3-0, in its home opener to give the Chippewas their first MAC win of the season. 

After being held hitless for two innings, the Chippewas opened the bottom of the third with two hits and a Golden Flashes error to load the bases. With the bases loaded, sophomore Allyssa Hollo delivered with a 2-RBI single to give CMU a 2-0 lead.

CMU had three-straight Chippewas reach base to load the bases with no outs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Capitalizing off of the loaded bases, redshirt junior Skylar Coberley hit a single to score redshirt junior pinch runner Tessa Nuss to add to the CMU lead, 3-0. 

With one final chance for Kent State to in the top of the seventh, the Golden Flashes threatened by getting a runner in scoring position. However, the Chippewa defense held the runner to secure their first MAC victory of the season. 

Hollo led on the offensive effort, going 1-for-1 with a single and a walk, driving two runs in for the Chippewas.

“Game one, having six hits, you know, we had some key hits and key at bats here and there, but once again, just continuing to get comfortable and just stay loose,” Salmon said. “Getting a win, I think leading into game two, that’s a confidence builder in itself. So hitting is contagious. So once the first home run was hit, you know, it's kind of like, alright, ‘I can do that.’... Just I think a testament to, you know, their confidence in the box right now.” 

Game 2

With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, freshman Bryn Elsenpeter stepped up to the plate for her first ever at bat with sophomore Alyssa Hollo on third. 

Elsenpeter took the pitch up the left side walking it off, to mercy rule the Golden Flashes with a final score of 10-2. 

 “I'm just excited for her and I know her teammates were excited for her,” Salmon said. “And it's really, you know, like I said next Chip up and she was ready for the challenge.”  

The Chippewas opened up the scoring in the bottom of the first inning as senior Kelsey Alexander hit a triple to center field to bring in two runs to take a 2-0 lead over the Golden Flashes.

Redshirt senior Kaitlyn Bean got the start in the circle for the Chippewas. Bean pitched all six innings allowing two runs on four hits and matched her season-high seven strikeouts.

 “I think both of them (Bean and Lehto) were able to utilize the weekend into today and really just trust their ability, trust their stuff,” Salmon said. “I just thought (they were) calm and composed, you know, not trying to do too much, letting their defense work.” 

After the Golden flashes were shut down in order in the first two innings, in the bottom of the third the Chippewas took a 3-0 lead due to sophomore Maddie Springer scoring off a base hit by junior Abbey Tolmie. Springer reached base after she doubled to right field and advanced to third on a KSU error. 

The Golden Flashes reached the board in the top of the fourth inning on a SAC fly to center field caught by a diving Tolmie.

With two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning, CMU junior Michaleigh Vallimont hit a two-run homer over the left center field fence bringing in pinch runner Cierra Laska. In the next at bat Alexander doubled to left center just be brought home as Allyssa Hollo hit a home run to center field to take a 7-1 lead.  

The Golden Flashes added a run in the top of the sixth inning on an RBI groundout. But sealing the deal in the bottom of the sixth, the Chippewas added three more runs on an Alexander two out, two run long shot and a walk off single to left field by Elsenpeter to bring in Hollo after she tripled down the right field line to mercy rule the Golden Flashes 10-2.  

The final game of the series has been canceled due to snow and frigid temperatures.  The Chippewas next match up is at 1 p.m. on Friday at Northern Illinois University as they take on the Huskies in a double header.