MSU ready for home opener against Western Michigan
The MSU softball team is more than ready to come home.
After being on the road for 27 straight games dating back to Feb. 12, the Spartans will play their home opener at 4 p.m. Wednesday against Western Michigan at Old College Field.
The team is eager to kick off its home schedule.
“We are very excited for our home opener tomorrow,” junior shortstop Lindsey Hansen said. “We are just excited to play in front of our own fans.”
The Spartans (12-15) will play six straight games at home after a road stretch that had the team bouncing around Florida and even making a trip to California.
“Now we go to the grocery store and settle in,” associate head coach Kathryn Gleason said. “It’s nice just to sleep in your own bed and be around your friends and family.”
After starting the season 3-2, the Spartans dropped eight straight games. But the team has bounced back, posting a 9-5 record since.
“We’ve had a couple rough patches,” said sophomore Lauren Kramer, who will start in the circle for the Spartans on Wednesday. “But we’ve learned from our mistakes and we keep getting better. We want to keep doing the things we are doing right.”
Kramer leads the Spartans with a 1.99 ERA and eight wins in 17 appearances. She has recorded 72 strikeouts in 88 innings.
At the plate, junior outfielder Jessica Bracamonte leads the Spartans with a .366 bating average.
Hansen, batting .350, is close behind and also has a team-high seven home runs and leads the Big Ten with 10 doubles.
“We’ve put her in a lot of different spots in the batting order, but she’s been very calm and has taken on that leadership role,” Gleason said of Hansen. “I think it has gone to all facets of her game.”
The Broncos have a 5-10 record entering Wednesday’s game. The Spartans are hoping to get the best of their in-state opponents and keep their two-game winning streak rolling.
“Western is an in-state school and we always want to be competitive and beat our in-state opponents,” Gleason said. “Also, we want it to be a springboard into this weekend’s series.”
MSU will open its Big Ten schedule this weekend at home, with a two-game series against Iowa (14-12) on Saturday and Sunday. Both games are slated to start at 1 p.m.
“It’s a whole new season,” Gleason said of the start of conference play. “We’ve learned a lot in our preseason with all of the traveling. But the Big Ten is what we build up to. We know it’s going to be great competition every time you come out, no matter who you are.”