No matter how your season has gone, it is always nice to beat your archrival.
Especially twice. In one day. With a long rain delay thrown in.
The University of Akron softball team did that Friday, beating Kent State in a Mid-American Conference doubleheader at Lee R. Jackson Field. And Allison Dorr capped it off doing something she had never done before.
Dorr, a senior designated player, smacked a fifth-inning grand slam to break a 1-1 tie and lead the Zips to a 5-4 victory in the second game. That was shortly after resumption from a 1-hour, 40-minute delay with KSU leading 1-0 in the bottom of the fourth.
“Actually that’s was the first grand slam in my whole, entire career,” said Dorr. “So it felt pretty good. I’ve hit a lot of home runs, but no grand slams.”
She said it also felt good to beat KSU in a doubleheader, the first time she or anyone else in attendance could recall that happening.
Akron’s Brittany Maurer pitched a five-hit shutout to pace a 5-0 win in the opener. A two-run homer by Rachael Ratcliffe and a solo shot from Alissa Birkhimer provided most of the offense.
Akron (22-29-1, 6-14 in the MAC) will finish its season with single games at home against Buffalo today and Sunday. The Zips will not qualify for next week’s MAC Tournament.
“Rain delays are always hard because you never know what you are going to get when you come back out,” Akron coach Julie Jones said. “And Allison Dorr came up huge. There was a questionable call that led that inning off, but that’s been happening to us the other way around all year. The hits after that really made the difference.”
With two out and nobody on in the Akron fifth, Alex Helfrich reached on a dribbler to third baseman Mary Holt, who didn’t throw to first because she thought it was foul. Kent State coach Karen Linder questioned the call to no avail.
“He said he called it fair,” said Linder, referring to the home-plate umpire. “I think [Holt] would have made a play if she thought it was fair, but in her mind it was clearly foul. That opened the door and they took advantage of it.”
Birkhimer then singled, and Ratcliffe was hit by a pitch to load the bases. That set the stage for Dorr, who cranked one over the left-field fence on a 2-0 count.
The Golden Flashes nearly came back. In the sixth, Shannon Laughlin hit a leadoff double and scored on a two-out wild pitch. Holt walked, advanced to third on Caitie Kilbane’s single and also scored on a wild pitch to make it 5-3. Pinch-hitter Kim Morgason doubled in pinch-runner Sarah Starr to make it 5-4, but Kim Kirkpatrick flied out to end the inning.
Birkhimer pitched a complete game for the victory, retiring Kent State (26-26, 11-9) in order in the seventh. The Golden Flashes end their regular season with single games today and Sunday at Ohio University. Kent State’s seeding for the MAC tourney has yet to be decided.
Maurer (17-22), a 5-foot-8 redshirt freshman right-hander, walked two and struck out four in the first game.
“My change-up and my dropball are my two main pitches,” she said. “My curveball is a get-ahead type pitch. I just kept myself in control and put the ball on the corner to keep them fishing and make my defense field the ball.”