After a nine-game slide, the MSU softball team managed to find some stability in their last few games, going 3-1 in the span as they prepare for upcoming the Big Ten Tournament.
MSU (24-24 overall, 9-10 Big Ten) closed out its regular season by splitting a doubleheader against No. 25 Wisconsin (39-11, 16-7 Big Ten) on Sunday to win the series, 2-1.
The Spartans faltered in the first matchup with a 3-0 shutout. However, the second game was a different story, as MSU bounced back to beat the Badgers 11-5.
With the split, the Spartans managed to finish the season with a .500 record, a marked improvement from the 11-42 record the team concluded with last year.
The second game in the series was a tough one for MSU. Wisconsin pitcher Cassandra Darrah pitched her sixth shutout of the season, and Wisconsin right fielder Mary Massei was strong at the plate, recording two RBIs in the game.
The third game, however, was a turnaround, as MSU scored six of 11 total runs on four hits in the first inning.
Senior third baseman Jayme O’Bryant scored the first run of the game in the first inning.
Sophomore pinch hitter Stephanie Sanders had a highlight play in the first, drilling a grand slam to give MSU a 6-0 lead the team never relinquished.
O’Bryant finished the game with five RBIs, going 2-for-4 with a three-run homer in the fifth. Junior pitcher Kelly Smith pitched five innings and allowed three earned runs.
The win was much needed for a Spartan team that stumbled as the season neared its end. The nine-game skid cost them team a chance at finishing with a winning record, but a series win against a superior Wisconsin team bodes well as the Spartans approach the Big Ten Tournament.
The Big Ten Tournament begins Thursday in Lincoln, Neb, with the schedule yet to be announced.
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