After recent snow pushed the MSU softball team’s doubleheader with Purdue to today, the Spartans spent Wednesday’s practice catching up for lost time.
Because of scheduling and bad weather, the team wasn’t able to practice on the field for nearly a week, something the team will try to counter as it prepares for one of the fastest teams in the Big Ten, head coach Jacquie Joseph said.
“Purdue presents some interesting scenarios in that I think it’s one with the best overall team speed,” Joseph said. “They run a lot, they push the envelope that way offensively. We’ve gotta handle the ball in the infield. Unfortunately, we haven’t been on the infield since last Thursday.”
Purdue leads the Big Ten in stolen bases with 60 and has only been caught five times as a team. To keep the Boilermakers from using their speed, MSU will need to keep them off the bases, Joseph said, which means limiting errors and preventing Purdue from getting extra chances.
“The big thing is don’t put them on base unnecessarily, which for us means no walks,” Joseph said. “If we put them on, they’re gonna run. Then that speed creates chaos and we’re gonna hurry and that’s when errors happen. If we can keep them to only what they absolutely earn, I like our chances a lot.”
MSU has some speed of its own, and has been efficient in stealing bases, coming in safe on 36-of-41 stolen base attempts. Senior Gina Mondo said the team has been focusing on the fundamentals this week to get back into game mode.
“We’ve been really focusing on hitting and certain plays, Purdue has a lot of slappers and a lot of lefties so we’ve been working on that,” Mondo said. “We’ve been just going back to the fundamentals a lot, making sure that’s all intact.”
Purdue has lost four of its last five games including a sweep at the hands of No. 8 Michigan last week. The Spartans are coming off a three-game losing stretch on the road against Illinois and No. 6 Northwestern but are looking forward to playing at home, where they are 3-0 this season.
“We love playing at home, I think it’s a big advantage for us,” Mondo said. “That’s a big plus for us and it pumps us up, just being able to mentally prepare on our own field.”
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