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Softball upperclassmen trying to maintain optimism

April 14, 2015

Another loss on Sunday left the softball team disappointed, but the veterans are making sure the underclassmen don’t get too down.

“We have a very young team. As a senior I have to make sure they understand it’s a journey,” outfielder Stephanie Sanders said. “They have to love the struggle.”

In total, MSU had four underclassmen take the field against the Buckeyes. Freshman pitcher Bridgette Rainey started for the Spartans and had three underclassmen play behind her in the field.

Ohio State (22-16 overall, 6-6 Big Ten) swept MSU (16-24 overall, 1-11 Big Ten afternoon) over the weekend, with their most lopsided victory coming Sunday in the form of a 15-5 win.

MSU, whose pitching staff is composed of all underclassmen, allowed eight earned runs on 16 hits.

The Buckeyes led 15-0 at one point and the game was called after five innings because of the “eight run” rule.

Losing pop ups in the sun and the inability to get out of two out jams proved fatal.

“There were a lot of effort plays we left (on the field) ... balls dropping without shirts getting dirty, couple of sun balls,” head coach Jacquie Joseph said. “I told them, ‘this is the Big Ten conference, you have to play better, we’ll work our way out of it.” 

The Spartans have a lot of work to do, as they currently sit in the cellar of the Big Ten standings with three weeks left in the regular season.

MSU is currently on a seven-game losing streak and has been outscored by 22 runs during the stretch.

“Softball is a game of failures in general, you just have to move on and get the next one,” senior first baseman McKinzie Freimuth said.

For a team that’s been up and down, Freimuth has been a model of consistency at the plate.

Batting in the second spot in the lineup, Freimuth leads the team with nine doubles and is one of only two players with a batting average above .300 as of Tuesday afternoon.

MSU will have to lick its wounds quickly because they will play five games over the next six days, including a three-game weekend series against Minnesota, which has a 33-7 record.

Minnesota’s sophomore pitcher Sara Groenewegen threw a no-hitter Sunday against Northwestern.

The Spartans take on Michigan Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.

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