MSU goes for first Big Ten win against Minnesota
The MSU softball team has a golden opportunity this weekend to try to even its Big Ten record with games against Minnesota on Saturday and Sunday.
The Spartans used a focused and complete effort Tuesday to defeat Eastern Michigan 9-2 and will look to stay focused this weekend as they prepare to play their second game on Easter.
If MSU can repeat its 12-hit performance from Tuesday, it shouldn’t have many problems.
MSU vs. Minnesota
Time 1 p.m.
Date Saturday and Sunday
Place Old College Field
Outlook The MSU softball team (14-17 overall, 0-2 Big Ten) looks to get their first win of the Big Ten season this weekend when they host the Golden Gophers (15-21, 1-1) in a two-game series.
Source: MSU Athletic Communications
“It always feels good to pull through for the team and get some runs on the board,” junior outfielder Jessica Bracamonte said. “Sometimes, it is really hard to come out here with a positive mindset after a few losses, but the past is the past … so we just look forward to the next game.”
The difference Tuesday was the fact that everybody in the lineup came ready to hit. The Spartans entered as the No. 10-ranked hitting team in the conference but have scored 15 runs during their past two games, which greatly contrasts from the mere 14 runs they scored in the previous six games combined.
“We were behind at the beginning (Tuesday) and kept scoring, and it was great,” sophomore pitcher Lauren Kramer said. “We were just putting all the stuff that’s happened in the past behind us and are moving forward.”
Minnesota has given up eight or more runs seven times this season but went six games without giving up more than four runs before Saturday’s 8-3 loss against Penn State. The Golden Gophers enter with a 15-21 overall record and 1-1 conference mark and defeated Eastern Michigan 4-0 earlier this season, one of several common opponents with the Spartans (14-17, 0-2).
The Spartans’ hitters will have to continue their balanced play as seven players recorded hits and three hit home runs Tuesday.
“To say we’re focusing on it is an understatement,” MSU head coach Jacquie Joseph said. “If you look at the numbers, we are pitching in the top three in the Big Ten, which is rare. We’re fielding in the top three in the Big Ten, which is also rare. To be hitting 10th is unheard of in my career. … If we could just middle those out and bring the hitting up to fifth or sixth and just hang on, I like our chances.”
MSU dropped two close games against Iowa during the weekend to complete a five-game stretch of games decided by two runs or less. The Spartans would like to take advantage of an opportunity to get their first two Big Ten victories at home before starting a four-game conference road swing next week.
Both of the weekend’s games are scheduled for 1 p.m. at Old College Field.
“I’m real excited about the weekend,” Joseph said. “The weather’s been outstanding. I enjoy the environment, and it’s always fun to play at home.”