Softball goes 4-1 in Littlewood Classic

The MSU softball team went 4-1 this weekend at the Littlewood Classic in Tempe, Ariz.

Behind 10 strikeouts from junior pitcher Kelly Smith and a grand slam by sophomore catcher Stephanie Sanders, the Spartans kicked off the tournament with a win — beating Illinois-Chicago 5-1 on Friday.

Later that day MSU was downed, 9-2, by No. 3 Arizona State, the host of the tournament.

The Spartans tied it up at 2 apiece in the top of the fourth inning, but the Sun Devils responded in the bottom half with four runs of their own.

Three more Arizona State runs in the bottom of the eighth sealed the loss for the Spartans. MSU recorded two errors and was led by senior centerfielder Kylene Hopkins who went 2-for-4.

Freshman pitcher Dani Goranson notched the first win of her career in an 11-7 victory on Saturday in a rematch with Illinois-Chicago.

Senior third baseman Jayme O’Bryant and sophomore catcher Ellie Stoffer each went 3-for-4 against the Flames, including a home run and five RBIs for Stoffer.

MSU finished Saturday undefeated after fighting out a 3-2 win against Illinois State. Smith allowed five hits and struck out seven batters to earn her third win of the season.

The Spartans ended the tournament by beating Northern Iowa 1-0 on Sunday. Smith pitched her first-ever shutout and had a season-high 11 strikeouts.

MSU now is 4-4 on the season and returns to action next weekend at the Florida Gulf Coast Tournament in Fort Myers, Fla.

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