Softball shoot for 1st Big Ten win against Wolverines
On a four-game losing streak, the MSU softball team will be competing against rival Big Ten team Michigan this weekend.
“In the big spectrum, their game isn’t really more important than any other game,” senior catcher Brett Williams said. “It’s just the fact that they are our rival.”
Despite the rival game being one of the last that Williams will play, she sees this game as just another Big Ten game. MSU (11-27 overall) has yet to win a conference game and hopes to break its losing record of 0-9. Michigan (27-11) holds a Big Ten record of 8-1.
“(Being a rival game) just adds a little more excitement to it,” said Williams, who has a batting average of .193 and has a field percentage of .966. “It doesn’t affect our preparation.”
The first rivalry game will kick off at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Secchia Stadium at Old College Field and will continue with a doubleheader in Ann Arbor on Sunday.
Junior Jayme O’Bryant hopes that the Spartans’ Wednesday loss to Eastern Michigan will give them more motivation to perform well against U-M.
“Hopefully it will light something in us,” O’Bryant said. “There are a lot of things we need to work on. I’m hoping these next two practices prepare us for our next game.”
Head coach Jacquie Joseph hopes that the team can shine through the Wolverines’ pitching level not being at their best.
“I would expect that we would compete at the plate a little better than we had in the last couple years,” she said.
Last season against the Wolverines, MSU closed out the regular season with two 8-0 losses — which gave U-M its fourth consecutive Big Ten championship. In hoping her team competes better in this weekend’s three-game series compared to last season, she said U-M has more noticeable weaknesses this time around.
“Michigan is a very good team,” Joseph said. “Yet, this is a team that’s more mortal in recent time.”
One of the main concerns that Joseph has is how the freshman on the team will play. Because of the team having several young players lacking experience, the game may be affected by how they handle it.
Joseph said she’s looking to her veterans to lead the way in the heated rivalry series.
“The older kids are going to play well,” Joseph said. “Historically the older players have played well against Michigan.”
Despite the rivalry and the emotions that go along with playing the Wolverines, the Spartans ultimately are going into it like it’s just another series.
“If they’re inclined to just trust their preparation and not buy into the jersey or the environment, they will be fine,” Joseph said. “It’s easier said than done.”