Softball battles back, eventually falls in extra innings
After 11 innings — seven of which were scoreless — the MSU softball team left Secchia Stadium Tuesday with an 8-3 loss to Central Michigan.
Down 3-1 going into the bottom of the sixth inning, the Spartans (21-21 overall, 3-9 Big Ten) tied up the game before going into extra innings with a scoreless seventh.
Head coach Jacquie Joseph said she was as disappointed as she could have been when MSU gave up five runs in the 11th inning because the team didn’t show up to win the game.
“I thought we played great to get in it,” she said. “But once we were in it, we had chance after chance after chance to win it, and we just didn’t do it.”
After the Chippewas (25-17) took a 1-0 lead in the second, the Spartans were silent until the fourth, when senior shortstop Lindsey Hansen smashed a home run almost to the Red Cedar River on the first pitch she saw. Central Michigan responded in the following inning when outfielder Macy Merchant scored on a passed ball by junior catcher Brett Williams.
Sophomore pitcher Shelby Wise stepped in for freshman pitcher Cassee Layne in the fifth inning and took the loss, moving to 3-4 on the season.
In the sixth inning, on a squeeze bunt from utility Summer Knoop, shortstop Molly Coldren scored to give the Chippewas a 3-1 lead.
With junior outfielder Lori Padilla on first, Hansen responded by hitting her second home run to tie the game. It was Hansen’s 16th home run of the season, tying the Spartans’ single season record.
“Coming from behind, it gives us a boost of energy,” Hansen said. “It also cuts the other team down a little, so it’s definitely good for our end if we would have capitalized.”
As MSU went deeper into extra innings, Wise kept the team in the game through 27 at-bats.
“If she pitches five scoreless innings, I’m thrilled,” Joseph said. “She came in and did what we asked her to do, and the team just let themselves down.”
In the top of the 11th inning, Central Michigan started to make its move on MSU when Merchant reached first base on an error by junior first baseman Lauren Kramer. Following up, Wise walked second baseman Brittney Horan, and outfielder Danielle Cabrera grounded out but advanced the two runners.
Central Michigan third baseman Amanda Patrick hit a three-run homer to give her team a 6-3 lead over MSU.
“The errors we made were at the worst time to make them,” Wise said. “My walk was in the worst time to walk someone the whole game.”
After Chippewas pitcher Kari Seddon singled to left field, Coldren hit another home run for an 8-3 lead.
Hoping to shake off the loss, MSU will host Oakland on Wednesday for a double-header starting at 4 p.m., and there’s only one thing Joseph wants to see her team do against the Golden Grizzlies.
“I’d like to see them win the games,” she said. “There’s a point to competing, and the point is to finish. Playing is not good enough. We have to finish.”