Softball ends season with sweep by Indiana
The MSU softball team was swept by Indiana this weekend to conclude a disappointing season in which the Spartans finished winless in Big Ten play.
After losing 4-2 on Friday, MSU (11-42 overall, 0-23 Big Ten) dropped a pair of one-run decisions, losing each game in Saturday’s doubleheader by a score of 6-5.
Despite failing to earn a Big Ten victory in Saturday’s heartbreaking losses, freshman pitcher Carly Nielsen called Saturday’s games the best MSU has played all season.
“We wanted it more than anything,” said Nielsen, who recorded three strikeouts in game one and two more in game two. “We wanted to win it for our seniors, we wanted to win it for our injured players — we wanted it.”
In game one, senior right fielder Melanie Bensema singled to right field scoring freshman first baseman McKinzie Freimuth to tie the game at 5-5 in the bottom of the seventh inning.
In the eighth inning, Indiana added another run on a sacrifice fly, leaving the Spartans with a final opportunity to win after fighting from multiple deficits in the game.
The bases were loaded in the bottom of the eighth after Indiana (30-25, 14-10) intentionally walked senior second baseman Ali Grant providing a bit of hope for MSU. The next batter, Freimuth, grounded out to the third baseman to end the game.
“Coming from a senior’s perspective, I’m not going out with any regrets,” Grant said. “This is one of the funnest days of playing softball that I can remember.”
The Spartans had a similar opportunity to win the game on their last at bat in game two. After narrowing the Indiana lead to 6-4 by scoring two runs in the bottom of the sixth, MSU once again looked to rally late.
Junior center fielder Kylene Hopkins’ RBI-single with two outs in the bottom of the seventh cut into the deficit, putting the score at 6-5. The game was ended when the next batter, junior third baseman Jayme O’Bryant fouled out to the third baseman.
“I feel like these last two games were the epitome of our season — just fighting and still coming up short,” assistant coach Chelsea Spencer said.
Despite the dismal performances against Big Ten competition, Spencer said the team never gave up and remained upbeat and optimistic throughout the season.
“Every day was a new day and the sun rose again, and they knew that they had to fight whether we were winning, losing or drawing,” Spencer said. “And it’s all about doing your personal best, and it doesn’t matter about losses.”
Head coach Jacquie Joseph was unavailable for comment following the game.