Team pitches Spartans 1st perfect game
A perfect game at any level is historic. A perfect game at MSU was unheard of - until Saturday.
Senior pitcher Becky Gray and sophomore pitcher Jessica Beech combined to throw the first perfect game in MSU history, a 2-0 no-hitter - with no walks - over Indiana Purdue-Fort Wayne in the first of two games at IPFW Softball Field. In MSUs 31 years of softball and the 118-season history of MSU baseball, neither team had ever pitched a perfect game.
I thought that was really awesome for us to share it, Gray said. It feels good to be a part of it.
Gray pitched the first four innings, striking out seven of the 12 batters she faced. Beech pitched the final three innings, striking out four to complete the historic performance. In seven innings, not one Mastodon reached base on a hit or walk.
Gray said she did not know what she was a part of at first, but began to root for her teammate once she found out.
It was coachs plan to have Jessica come in that inning and Jessica did a great job, Gray said. I guess I really didnt realize it. I just went out there and did the best I could.
The perfect game marked the 13th no-hitter in MSU history. The last was by senior pitcher Keri DeJong on Feb. 18, 2000, in a 10-0 win over Eastern Illinois in six innings.
Everybody was pretty excited, Beech said. Everybody knew what we could do. I came in feeling like I gotta do it. I have to finish it.
In the second game of Saturdays doubleheader, the Spartan bats came alive as they crushed the Mastodons 17-0. The Spartans led 7-0 before they erupted for 10 runs in the sixth inning. DeJong and freshman pitcher Jennifer Diesing allowed two hits in six innings of work.
After sweeping the doubleheader with the Mastodons (2-17), the Spartans swept Indiana in a doubleheader Sunday, 8-0 and 11-2. Both games ended after five innings due to the mercy rule.
Gray (8-10) and Beech (7-5) teamed up again for the shutout in the first game of Sundays doubleheader. Gray pitched the first four innings and Beech pitched the final inning.
In the second game, the Spartan batters picked up where they left off, scoring three runs in the first inning to take a 3-0 lead. After each team scored a run in the second inning, the Spartans blew the game open with a six-run third inning.
The Spartans are on a season-best seven game winning streak. During the streak, MSU pitchers have allowed just six earned runs, including four shutouts. Gray and Beech have collected six of the seven wins.
The Spartans next game is against Detroit at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday at Titan Field in Detroit.
Romando J. Dixson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.