Taylor, U-M shutout Spartans on Senior Day
For the second consecutive day, Jordan Taylor took to the hill for No. 2 Michigan against the MSU softball team.
It took the All-American pitcher Taylor just five innings to dominate the Spartans’ (27-27 overall, 6-14 Big Ten) lineup allowing no hits — her eighth career no-hitter — and surrendering just three base runners on the day.
In front of a record crowd of 1,506 on Senior Day at the newly-dedicated Secchia Stadium, the MSU softball team had a special day spoiled and fell, 8-0, in five innings in the second game of a home-and-home series against U-M (51-4, 18-2).
“They’ve won their fourth straight (Big Ten) championship with (Taylor) on the mound,” head coach Jacquie Joseph said. “She’s a continuation of their ability to get great pitching, and I have nothing but respect for the job she’s done.”
Like the first game of the series, the Wolverines jumped out to an early lead against the Spartans after outfielder Bree Evans singled to leadoff the game. Evans would come around to score on a single by third baseman Amanda Chidester to give U-M an early 1-0 lead.
The Wolverines would extend their lead in the top of the second inning as Evans hit a triple off the right field fence to score outfielder Marley Powers, who singled to lead off the inning. Outfielder Lyndsey Doyle started another rally for U-M as she singled in Evans to give U-M a 3-0 lead.
After first baseman Dorian Shaw walked, Chidester added another single to score Doyle. With two runners on, second baseman Ashley Lane homered to right field and extended U-M’s lead to 7-0.
Freshman pitcher Cassee Layne took the loss for the Spartans and dropped her season record to 15-16 after surrendering six runs on six hits.
U-M would add another run in the top of the fourth after an RBI single by Powers scored Shaw, who walked earlier in the inning, to stretch their lead to 8-0 and send the Spartan seniors out on a low note.
“It wasn’t exactly the turnout we wanted,” junior catcher Brett Williams said. “Today, really we wanted to play for the seniors and — granted we didn’t do a very good job of doing that — but it was about them.”
Outfielders Jessica Bracamonte and Karen Fox along with first baseman Heidi Purtzer and shortstop Lindsey Hansen were honored before the game for their service during their four years donning the green and white.
Hansen ends her career at MSU ranking first in several offensive categories, including career home runs and extra base hits.
Joseph said she had a lot of fun coaching the senior class and watching them mature the way they did. Of Hansen, Joseph said she is the greatest player to ever have come through the Spartan softball program and it was an honor to coach her during her years at MSU.
“The four seniors are great,” Joseph said. “Fox and Purtzer didn’t play a lot earlier in their careers but turned themselves into starters as seniors and that’s what you want to see.
“Bracamonte will be special to me in a million ways. She’s been a program kid from day one, a starter from day one and an impact player from day one.”
For Hansen, ending her career means taking a look back on the growth she made during her time at MSU. Hansen said the the way she was able to mature as a softball player has been something she’ll always remember about her time in East Lansing.
“I’d never thought I’d mature and be able to hit as well as I did,” Hansen said. “I’m so humble by that.
“There are so many great athletes who have been through the program. It’s just what I strive to do.”