For the second straight weekend, the MSU softball team suffered a weekend sweep at the hands of a Big Ten opponent.
The Spartans (10-23 overall, 0-6 Big Ten) dropped both games of a doubleheader Saturday afternoon, 9-4 and then 14-1 in a game that ended after the fifth inning because of the mercy rule. MSU then dropped the final game of the series 6-4 on Sunday at Secchia Stadium at Old College Field and now finds itself in the midst of a seven-game losing streak.
“I don’t see any of that,” head coach Jacquie Joseph said about the skid. “I see (that) we really competed well today. … Am I disappointed that this was the outcome? Yes, but we had opportunities, we just didn’t take advantage of them.”
The final game of the series appeared to be headed the way of the first two when, three batters in, sophomore pitcher Cassee Layne gave up a two-run home run to Buckeye shortstop Alicia Herron.
However, the Spartans responded in the bottom of the first on a pair of doubles from junior outfielder Kylene Hopkins and senior catcher Brett Williams, which drove in a run and brought the Spartans within one.
After some initial struggles, Layne settled down on the mound before giving up four runs in the top of the fifth. However, the Spartans responded in turn once again with a three-run rally sparked by a single from senior outfielder Lori Padilla.
“I know my role on the team is as a leader, and (a way I can lead) is by getting on base and doing the little things right,” Padilla said.
Joseph noted that the late rally showed her team’s ability to continue to fight, despite the odds being stacked against it. She added her team’s performance was aided by some of the best fielding she had seen all year.
A large part of MSU’s fielding effort came from junior outfielder Kylene Hopkins, who made a couple run-saving catches in center field during the game.
“Our defense is really important (to us),” Hopkins said.
“We talk about getting the first out of the inning being key because the rest will follow, and that’s been our goal all year.”
Hopkins finished three-of-four at the plate and added a pair of runs to help the Spartan effort to improve her batting average to .416 on the season.
MSU will return to action Wednesday when it travels to Mount Pleasant, Mich., to take on Central Michigan at 4 p.m.
Share and discuss “Softball swept in three games by Ohio State” on social media.