Softball hosts Iowa this weekend in 3-game series
The MSU softball team is going into its home series against Iowa with a positive mindset to hopefully end their Big Ten losing streak.
The Spartans (11-30 overall, 0-12 Big Ten) face off against the Hawkeyes (17-22, 7-5) with a doubleheader at 1 p.m. Saturday at Secchia Stadium at Old College Field.
Freshman Carly Nielson is expected to be the starting pitcher against Iowa. Nielson has an ERA of 5.73.
“She gives us the best chance to win,” head coach Jacquie Joseph said.
Despite Joseph describing their conference losing streak as “depressing and difficult,” the morale stands strong throughout the team.
“We’re a very confident team as far as what we have,” senior outfielder Lori Padilla said. “We don’t really let outside things affect us, like stats or standings in the Big Ten.”
Along with having confidence, the Spartans are taking each game at a time.
“We try to take every Big Ten game separately,” senior catcher Brett Williams said. “Even though we haven’t won a game up to this point, from here on out, the twelve games or so that we have left — they are all individual games; they all mean the same thing really as far as a win.”
Getting off to a hot start might help the team continue to improve its play enough for a win.
“At the beginning of a game, you start out well, (and) it builds confidence,” said Williams, whose batting average has dropped from .336 in 2011 to .176. “That confidence can carry with you throughout the rest of the innings and the game.”
Along with hoping to start off the game positively, Williams and Padilla hope to use their seniority as a learning tool.
“I know that my role on the team is to get on base and to light the fire within my team,” Padilla said. “As long as I consistently do that, I think my team will follow along.”
Joseph plans to go back to the beginning fundamentals to get the team back on point against the Hawkeyes.
“We are going to work on more of what ‘quality at bat’ means,” Joseph said. “I think that when you get behind, you try to put too much pressure on yourself as a hitter, and then that takes you out on what really made you successful in the first place.”
Struggling on the mound this season, sophomore Cassee Layne is working on getting her confidence back and working ahead; she likely will throw a few innings in the series.
“I struggled with working behind,” Layne said. “All you can do is prepare for the next games you have and go into those with a positive mindset.”
Joseph sees this next game against the Hawkeyes as a point to start over.
“We just need to simplify things, and hopefully that will get us to feel better about ourselves,” Joseph said.