Spartan softball splits doubleheader with Indiana
The Spartans were able to hold on late in the first leg of the doubleheader, winning 5-3, but came up dry/scoreless in the second game, losing by a score of 7-3.
Although the win in the first game ended a five-game losing skid, MSU is still a disappointing 3-12 in its last 15 games after losing the second leg.
MSU used three runs in the final two innings and a big strikeout from freshman starting pitcher Valerie Kaff for the final out to hold onto a 5-3 win in the first leg of the doubleheader.
Indiana was threatening in the final inning with the bases loaded and only down two runs after Kaff walked in a run, but the freshman pitcher came through with three straight pitches to strikeout Hoosier sophomore catcher Kelsey Dotson to clinch the win. MSU had put up two runs in the top half of the inning, ultimately proving to be the difference in the game.
Kaff went all seven innings for MSU and picked up the win to improve to 5 -11 on the season.
After struggling to get hits last weekend with two outs, MSU was able to score all five runs with two outs in the inning. However, MSU still finished with eight runners left on base.
After nine scoreless innings to end the weekend series against Penn State, MSU released some built up frustration to kick off the double header. MSU rallied for two runs off three hits, all coming with two outs in the inning.
Freshman left fielder Kassidy Kujawa doubled to right center to bring home freshman third baseman Sarah Gutknecht from second, and junior right fielder Stephanie Sanders singled down the left field line to score Kujawa.
Indiana would respond, however, tying the game at 2-2 after back-to-back scoring innings. The Hoosiers first found the scoreboard in the bottom of the third inning off a fielding error from Kujawa. It was the first error of Kujawa’s career.
Indiana would then tie the game the following inning off a single through the left side from sophomore designated player Michelle Huber.
MSU would then use a couple more two-out rallies to push its lead to three runs. Sophomore second baseman Jacquie Reiser singled up the middle to give MSU the lead in the top of the 6th and freshman catcher Lindsey Besson singled to center field to score a pair of Spartans.
Indiana would cut the lead to only two runs after Kaff walked senior left fielder Jenna Abraham on four straight pitches, but that would be as close as the Hoosiers got.
MSU failed to generate much offense until it was too late, falling to Indiana 7-3 in the second leg of the doubleheader.
Indiana jumped to a 7-0 lead, including five runs in the first two innings, before MSU was able to put any runs on the scoreboard. MSU would put together a rally effort late, trimming the deficit to only four runs, but couldn’t get overcome a stellar pitching effort from Indiana senior pitcher Meaghan Murphy. The Hoosier starting pitcher racked up 13 strikeouts in a complete game effort on the mound.
Senior pitcher Kelly Smith recorded the loss for MSU, giving up seven earned runs on eight hits in six innings.
Like MSU in the first game, Indiana started the game with two runs in the first inning, this time coming from an Abraham two-run home run. The bomb from the senior gave Indiana a 2-0 lead to start the game.
Indiana would quickly add three more runs to its early lead the following inning. Senior shortstop Breanna Saucedo singled to right field to score a couple of Hoosiers and Huber followed with a double to center field to score Saucedo to give the Indiana a 5-0 lead through two innings.
After a couple scoreless innings, Indiana would hit another two-run home run, this time from Dotson over the left field fence. The homer in the bottom of the fifth inning pushed the Hoosier lead to 7-0.
MSU would attempt to rally in the top of the sixth inning, putting up three runs in the frame. The Spartan scoring started with a two-run home run to left field from Sanders. MSU would then add another run on a short dribbler from junior pinch hitter Carly Nielsen that dropped in short right field to make it 7-3.
However the rally wouldn’t continue into the seventh, with the Spartans going down in order to clinch the win for Indiana.
MSU returns to the field on Friday to kick off a three-game conference series against instate rival No. 14 Michigan.