It is really absurd how good Kent State sophomore pitcher Kylie Reynolds is at such a young age. As the Flashes head to Ann Arbor, Mich. to play Notre Dame Friday at 4:30 in the first round of the NCAA Regional play, Reynolds is already third in school history in strikeouts with 523.
Reynolds needs just 22 strikeouts to pass Kate Leary, who fanned 545 from 2001-2004, for second the school's all time list. Brittney Robinson, who pitched for the Flashes from 2004-2007, has the lead with 856 strikeouts.
Her 269 strikeouts this season set the school's single season record. If the Flashes have a successful tournament she could theoretically pass Robinson for wins in a season. Robinson recorded 31 victories on the 2006 team that won its first regional game since 1990. Reynolds has 24 wins this season.
Kent State softball coach Karen Linder does a tremendous job recruiting pitching talent. In her 12 years as head coach Linder has coached Leary, Robinson and Reynolds. Reynolds is now a two time Mid-American Conference Pitcher of the year. Reynolds won the award the season before that.
It would not be a surprise of any kind if Reynolds breaks nearly every pitching record at the University by the time she is done. She is already close to most of them and still has two years left to throw.
When I talked to Linder earlier this year she informed me that senior Gabe Burns could also win the Mid-American Conference Pitcher of the Year award. Burns actually has a lower ERA, at 1.09 than Reynolds doe at 1.23; Reynolds has pitched nearly 30 more innings. Burns also struck out 216 batters this year. How is that for pitching depth?
Hitting gets it done too...
While the pitching continues to get the accolades the offense is more than ready for a run at regionals as well. The Flashes have outscored their opponents 221-79 this season.
Seniors Jamie Fitzpatrick (36) and Jess Toocheck (29) sit a top the Kent State all-time leaders in home runs. Fitzpatrick was already the leader before hitting eight more home runs this season. Toocheck added 11 home runs this season to move into second place. Senior Kim Hamilton moved into a tie for third with 26 home runs. Denae Jones, who played from 1997-2000 also had 26.
Freshman Jess Carmichael, who led Dalton to back-to-back State championships in high school, may eventually join the list. She hit eight home runs this year while hitting .272 in her first year.
Linder's teams have continued to show improvement throughout her 12 years here. In all aspects of the game the Kent State teams have become more talented and competitive. It all adds up to what appears to be another fun ride in NCAA Regional competition.