Looking to snap a seven-game losing streak, the MSU softball team is headed to Mount Pleasant, Mich., on Wednesday to face Central Michigan in a one-off midweek game at 4 p.m.
The Spartans (10-23 overall, 0-6 Big Ten) are out for revenge after suffering an 8-4 loss from the hands of the Chippewas in the Hoosier Classic earlier this season.
The Chippewas lead MSU in the overall series 58-25 and have come away victorious in the last two meetings. The Spartans have not won in Mount Pleasant since 2006, when head coach Jacquie Joseph’s squad topped the Chippewas 5-2.
Senior outfielder Lori Padilla said there is even more of a competitive edge when it comes to playing the Chippewas.
“Central is always aiming for us; we have a target on our back when we go to play Central,” she said. “We still have a bitter taste in our mouth from when we met them in Indiana, so we’re coming in guns blazing.”
MSU is coming off of Sunday’s 6-4 loss to Big Ten opponent Ohio State, who swept the Spartans in the three-game weekend series at Secchia Stadium at Old College Field. Despite the losses, Joseph said she saw improvements in the Spartans’ final game and hopes to take those improvements and move forward.
“I’m proud of the way we competed,” Joseph said after Sunday’s game. “We’ve got to take this (performance) and go to Mount Pleasant. We can’t go back to (Saturday’s 14-1 loss) and go to Mount Pleasant.”
Among those improvements has been MSU’s defensive effort, and Joseph gave specific praise to the performance of the Spartans on Sunday. Throughout the Ohio State series, MSU had 57 putouts and one error, good enough for a fielding percentage of .986.
Padilla also said while the losing streak was discouraging, she is happy with the direction the Spartans are headed.
As a whole, the Spartans are boasting a teamwide batting average of .257, while allowing opponents to hit .363. Meanwhile, the Chippewas are hitting .278 on the season, while holding opposing squads to a .245 batting average.
MSU likely will face off against Central Michigan’s right-hander Kara Dornbos, who has struck out 35 batters in 14 starts this season.
After batting .444 during the weekend series and going 3-for-4 at the plate on Sunday, junior outfielder Kylene Hopkins said she and the team could use the final game of the series as a stepping stone for the rest of the season.
“We’ve just got to play our game,” Hopkins said. “We all play, we’re all good, we all put in the work and we just have to bring it together.”
“And we’re really close to bringing it together,” she added. “Really close.”
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