MSU's 6-game win streak ends in 1-3 weekend against Hawkeyes
The Iowa Hawkeyes squashed the MSU softball team’s six-game winning streak during the weekend, and it only went downhill from there for the Spartans.
MSU posted a 1-3 record on the weekend, losing two games to Iowa and splitting a doubleheader with Illinois — which included a mercy win over the Fighting Illini with an 11-5 victory in five innings.
“We ran into a very good Iowa team,” MSU head coach Jacquie Joseph said. “Iowa flat out beat us. They pitched better, and they hit better — end of story. Against Illinois, we won the one game big. The second game we just didn’t pitch well enough.”
Despite playing well defensively, the Spartans seemed to struggle with pitching, Joseph added.
“We slugged it out as best we could, but we just couldn’t get it on the mound,” she said. “ ... Lesley (Noel) is just in a little bit of a funk all of a sudden. We’ve got to get her back on track. She’s capable of playing better, just sometimes, players mentally undermine themselves. And that’s what she’s doing to herself right now.”
Noel gave up seven hits and five runs in Sunday’s second game of the doubleheader against Illinois. The Spartans lost 9-8.
“Pitching is everything. It’s always serious,” Joseph said. “If you pitch well, you’re in every game you play. That’s the good news and that’s the bad news. ... We’ve got two kids coming on that are really starting to throw a lot of innings in (Shae) Bass and (Kelly) Confer. Hopefully that will help Lesley relax, knowing she doesn’t have to carry it.”And her teammates agree.
“Everybody goes through it,” freshman shortstop Bianca Mejia said. “Major leagues, minors, high school (pitchers). (Noel’s) a great ball player. She’ll get out of it.
“We came back like chickens ready to fight. Everyone was hitting well, it just didn’t seem to fall for us in the last game. We couldn’t get the wins we wanted to.”