Softball team tops Western Michigan behind active bats
Freshman utility player Lindsey Hansen notched her first collegiate home run in the fourth inning of the MSU softball team’s 5-4 victory over Western Michigan on Wednesday.
And she couldn’t be more relieved.
“Oh my gosh, it felt so great!” Hansen said. “Once I hit it, I was like, ‘Oh!’ You could just feel it.”
The team fought back from a 4-2 deficit early on in the game as the Broncos seemingly dominated in pitching and hitting.
MSU head coach Jacquie Joseph said she’s thrilled with the win, which extends the Spartans’ winning streak to six games.
“We were struggling and yet we found a way to come from behind and compete, and that did not happen earlier in the year,” Joseph said. “It shows a little bit of maturity on our part.”
Although it was another win for Joseph, who tallied her 600th victory for MSU (20-15, 4-2 Big Ten) at Ohio State this weekend, the Spartans still need to work hard to continue that success, she said.
“It’s not that you don’t take a win any way you can, but we need to do some certain things to beat great teams,” Joseph said. “You have to work ahead in the count at the pitching mound, we consistently work from behind. That’s why we give up so many hits. We left seven or eight on base in the first few innings, you can’t do that. Those are things you cannot do if you expect to compete in the Big Ten.”
Despite a slow offensive start to the game, MSU had 14 hits and gained momentum from Hansen’s home run.
“That was awesome,” freshman shortstop Bianca Mejia said. “You know what, she’s a great hitter. It was bound to happen. ... That sense of urgency always hits us. I’m glad it does. Better late than never.”
And for Joseph, it was about time.
“I love Lindsey showing up any way she can,” she said. “She’s a great player who has not yet played to her ability. When she gets rolling, we can really do some damage.”
Western Michigan’s quick two runs in the first inning surprised the Spartans but MSU’s hitting played a key role in the victory.
“You’ve got to hit, hit, hit,” Hansen said. “(To maintain six wins in a row) hitting is our main focus. We can play defense, we’ve just got to stick together.”
But Joseph disagrees.
“We don’t have any ‘gimmies’ on our schedule,” she said. “They’re all Division I, they all compete hard. Sometimes athletes think you can take the day off and you just can’t.”
The Spartans head to Iowa Friday and Saturday and travel to Illinois for a double header on Sunday.