Thursday, October 29, 2020

Softball opens season strong by taking four of their first five games

By Alyssa Smith

asmith@statenews.com

MSU softball finished opening weekend with a 4-1 record, and a four-game winning streak. They traveled to DeLand, Florida to participate in the Westin Lake Mary Leadoff Classic at Stetson to play Akron, Rhode Island, Morehead State and Stetson.

In their opening game MSU dominated with a 5-0 victory over Akron. The Spartans scored three runs on a double in the third, and two more in the fifth. Freshman McKenzie Long went 2-for-3 in her collegiate debut, and was the only freshman to start on opening day. In the bottom of the third, Long got her first hit with bunt single to third.

Later that afternoon, MSU continued their winning streak with a 7-1 victory over Rhode Island. The Spartans recorded 10 hits, including two each for seniors Alyssa McBride and Stephanie Sanders. In the top of the second, Kassidy Kujawa scored the first home run of the season and the fourth of her career.

On Saturday, MSU earned their third win with a 6-0 shutout of Morehead State. Pitchers Kristina Zalewski and Dani Goranson, who returned from injuries last season, combined on a two-hit shutout. Zalewski went four innings, striking out a career-high seven, and did not allow a single run.

MSU struggled against Stetson later that day, but pulled out a 3-2 win, and continued their streak. After holding off Stetson for four innings, the host team tied the game at two each in the fifth. In the top of the seventh, MSU played aggressively; senior Stephanie Sanders sent home the game-winning run, while Zalewski allowed just one hit and no runs so far in her two appearances.

MSU played Akron for a second time Sunday morning, and ended their four-game winning streak with a 4-2 loss. MSU did manage seven hits, and used all four pitchers on staff. Akron pitcher Erin Seiler walked both Shanin Thomas and Alyssa McBride to plate two runs in the first inning. Akron took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the second. Unable to recover, the Spartans fell after a four-game winning streak.

MSU will head back to Florida next weekend, to play the Florida Atlantic Tournament in Boca Raton, Florida.

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