After waiting 15 minutes for her at bat, freshman infielder Ali Grant only needed a few seconds to end the game for her team.
Playing through rain and wind the entire game, the MSU softball team was forced to take a break from its game against Bowling Green to wait for nearby lightning to pass. The Spartans had just hit a two-run homer to make the game 7-0 in the fifth inning, one run short of the run rule to end the game, when the lightning warning system sounded, making players and fans go inside to wait out the passing storm.
“During the rain delay we wanted to stay focused,” Grant said. “I’m just trying not to think about it. I’m just trying to relax and do my thing, just see ball, hit ball. I didn’t really want to think that much about it.”
Then just as fast as she came into the batter’s box, Grant sent a pitch by the Falcons’ Hayley Wiemer soaring over the left field wall, ending the game 8-0 and sending the dugout into a frenzy.
“The at bat before that she was throwing me a lot of inside pitches and I just kept fouling them off,” Grant said. “So, I knew coming into this at bat that she was probably going to try to get me with another inside pitch. So I was just trying to keep my hands inside and drive it.”
The Spartans overpowered Bowling Green from the beginning of the game, starting off the scoring with a two-run homer by junior infielder Kelly Confer in the bottom of the first inning. Confer, just a few weeks removed from a jaw injury, slapped an opposite field shot over the right field wall, scoring senior catcher Kara Weigle and putting the Spartans in the lead, 2-0.
MSU got on the board again in the third inning when two infield miscues by the Falcons gave MSU two more runs. Freshman outfielder Lori Padilla reached first on a dropped relay by the first baseman, then in the next at bat a throwing error by the Bowling Green third baseman sent the ball careening to right field, allowing Weigle to circle the bases, scoring two for the Spartans. A run in the fourth inning gave the Spartans a 5-0 lead, leading up to the fifth-inning theatrics.
“That’s incredible,” head coach Jacquie Joseph said. “You could probably watch another 10 years of softball and that would never happen again. That’s one of those lifetime memories. Coming out of the building then hit a pitch over the fence to win the game. It doesn’t get any better than that.”
MSU freshman pitcher Lauren Kramer had another big game. Following her career-high nine-strikeout performance against No. 23 Iowa, Kramer recorded seven strikeouts on three hits and no walks in five innings.
“She’s improving every outing and I think Kramer has a big upside and a bright future here,” Joseph said. “She just has to continue to work hard. It’s not that she didn’t miss some pitches, she missed some pitches too, but all in all she’s got a big upside.”
The Spartans, now 15-24 overall, will wait for better weather to play their next game. MSU’s doubleheader against Oakland was moved back a day to Thursday, with the team expecting better weather than they got on Tuesday. The first game against the Golden Grizzlies is set for 3:30 p.m.
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