Spartans get shut out by Golden Gophers in Sunday doubleheader
The Spartan hurlers pitched well enough to win, but their batters couldnt get it done.
The MSU softball team (20-25 overall, 3-7 Big Ten) dropped both games of a Sunday doubleheader at Old College Field to Minnesota by a combined score of 5-0. The Spartans lost 2-0 in game one, then fell 3-0 in game two.
After winning nine straight, MSU has dropped its last four. The Spartans dropped two against Wisconsin (24-14, 7-5), 1-0 on Friday and 2-1 on Saturday.
Obviously, I am very, very disappointed in the weekend, head coach Jacquie Joseph said. I think we put ourselves in a position to be successful. We did not score any runs and youre not going to beat anybody when you dont score any runs.
MSU managed just one run during the entire weekend. But the Spartans pitching did provide room for optimism.
Senior pitchers Becky Gray and Keri DeJong both pitched complete games Sunday. They combined for six strikeouts, eight walks and nine hits.
I thought Keri did well, Joseph said. Its unfortunate that pitchers have to be perfect to win. Its a shame because she pitched very well, but when you dont score any runs it doesnt matter.
The Spartans didnt score a run in Sundays contest and collected just five hits in the doubleheader.
We just had a really rough day offensively, DeJong said. Were just going to have to come back and be more pumped up to play on the road and be more determined to hit the ball.
The Golden Gophers (28-15, 5-5) pitching had a lot to do with the outcome as well.
Minnesota pitcher Piper Marten (17-9), the Big Ten leader in strikeouts, pitched a one-hitter while striking out nine batters and walking three in seven innings of work in the first game. Marten picked up the save in the second game, pitching two and one-thirds innings of no-hit softball.
I just tried to keep the batters off balance, Marten said. Im just trying to set up the batter, and if it ends in a strikeout, great.
I think our team needed this and its really important for all of us.
In the first game, the Spartans managed to get just one batter into scoring position, which came in the sixth inning. After junior shortstop Margaret Schick was hit by a pitch, junior center fielder Sandy Lewis singled to center to put runners at first and second with one out.
But the rally was ended when Marten struck out sophomore first baseman Natalie Furrow and made designated player Brittney Green ground into a fielders choice at third.
In the second game, the Spartans had more opportunities, but failed to capitalize.
The Spartans had the bases loaded with two outs in the first inning, but freshman second baseman Janette Hurtado grounded out to the pitcher.
In the fifth inning, the Spartans had started another rally against Gopher pitcher Angie Recknor (10-6). Trailing 2-0 with two outs and Schick on second base, Lewis walked, bringing the go-ahead run to the plate.
But thats when the Gophers again called on Marten, who relieved Recknor and got Furrow to fly out to center field.
MSU will attempt to get back in the win column at 4 p.m. Tuesday against Oakland.