MSU softball shuts Maryland out, wins third straight, 2-0
MSU softball edged out Maryland in the second game in a three-game series on fan appreciation day at Secchia Stadium, 2-0.
The win came in a contrasting fashion from MSU's 8-3 win in game one, with the Spartans scoring two runs this time in a shutout win.
"What I think you saw here was a totally different way we won," head coach Jacquie Joseph said. "And I told the team after, I said, good teams - and we're really trying to become a good team - find a way to win. And we found a way to win with only four hits and, you know credit our pitching."
Junior lefty Bridgette Rainey got the start for MSU and retired the side for Maryland quickly in a three up, three down first inning.
Rainey logged eight strikeouts in five innings, falling just short of her career-high of nine strikeouts. She also gave up one hit and four walks. Freshman right-handed pitcher Jordan Watson took over in the sixth.
Rainey said everyone did their job today, which helped MSU get the win.
"It was a much tighter game, and we weren't getting as many hits on the board. But I think we trust our offense and we know that we're home team and we get the last at bat," Rainey said. "So no matter what, I know our offense wouldn't go down without a fight."
When Maryland threatened in the second and fourth innings, Rainey responded with two strikeouts to continue the shutout.
"It takes the pressure off just to know that the next pitch is the most important pitch, and just to keep going with it," Rainey said. "Just knowing that anything that's put in play, we're going to make the play, no matter what.
In a save situation, Watson let the defense behind her do the work in the sixth and seventh and completed the shutout. Watson gave up one hit and struck out one to earn the save.
"I've just been out there believing in myself and I knew if they made contact, my defense was behind me," Watson said. "And Bridgette (Rainey) put me in a really good situation coming in, so it just helped me get my momentum going."
Joseph said Watson has embraced her new role as a closer.
"You know, this is a new role for Jordan Watson. Nobody comes to college as a closer, it's not like baseball," Joseph said. "So for her to embrace this role and to do it so well, and to be so young with this huge crowd and the intensity of it and the game on the line. And for her to have that poise, I mean, I just can't say enough good things about her."
Joseph said Watson has a lot of maturity for a freshman, and Watson's progress has been steadily on the up.
"If you guys could have seen her in February, I mean she is literally twice as good. So she's getting better, even still, embracing a lot of new things," Joseph said.
Joseph also said while the team only had four hits, they came at timely moments in the game.
With a runner in scoring position in the bottom of the third, sophomore second baseman Kelly Zackrison sent sophomore rightfielder Lexi White to third on a one out single tipped off of Maryland first baseman Brigette Nordberg’s glove.
Foerster followed that up with an RBI double to left center to put MSU on the board.
In the fourth, sophomore third baseman Kaitlyn Eveland started the inning with a single to right field. Freshman Kelcey Carrasco followed up with a walk, then senior Sarah Gutknect flew out deep to the warning track in right field to advance Eveland to third.
Eveland stole home and Carrasco stole second on a wild pitch during the next at-bat to put MSU up 2-0.
After scoring one run in back-to-back innings, the MSU bats were shut out through the sixth inning.
Carrasco roped a two-out double off of the center field fence that just short of a home run. Freshman outfielder Summer Callahan came in as a pinch runner and stole third.
The Spartans and the Terrapins will close out the series Sunday at 1 p.m.