The softball team concluded the non conference portion of its schedule last week and is setting their eyes on Big Ten competition.
“I think we’ve got some nice things done and improved in some areas,” head coach Jacquie Joseph said. “We let a few get away. I’d love to have some of those games back but that’s part of it, a couple of those games if we played again tomorrow, we’d win those games.”
MSU (15-12 overall) will open up the conference portion of its schedule Friday in Lincoln against Nebraska (12-12 overall).
Last weekend, the Spartans won three of five games in Macon, Georgia as part of the Mercer tournament.
MSU defeated Youngstown State and Alabama A&M twice but were swept by Mercer.
In their most recent game, the Spartan topped Alabama A&M, 12-0 in five innings.
Balanced hitting and lights out pitching by freshman Kristina Zalewski were the catalyst behind the beat-down. MSU had 13 different players take an at-bat, 12 of which had at least one hit.
“What we’re trying to impress upon the team is to play what we call team offense,” Joseph said. “It’s not so much did you get an actual hit but did you create offense, the only two things that really kill us in an at bat are a popup or a strikeout.”
Junior third baseman Shanin Thomas and freshman outfielder Lea Foerster each had two hits and two RBIs in the rout.
Foerster saw the ball well in Macon, totaling seven hits, three RBIs and three runs. She also boosted her batting average to .313 for the season.
Nebraska lost three of five games in the Mary Nutter Classic last weekend in Cathedral City, California and is currently on a two-game losing streak.
MSU’s pitching staff will have its hands full with this Cornhuskers lineup, which features three players who hit above .400.
At the forefront of Nebraska’s lethal lineup is junior outfielder Kiki Stokes, who is batting .444 on the season and leads the team with six homeruns and 23 RBIs.
If the Spartans score first, they’ll have the edge against Nebraska, who is 3-8 when trailing after the first inning and 0-10 when trailing after three innings.
“It has to be clicking on all cylinders,” Joseph said. “(They) have a tremendous program, they’re College World Series quality.”
First pitch is set for 6:30p.m. Friday.