Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Weak pitching performances have doomed softball this season

April 7, 2015
<p>The team celebrates a good inning March 29, 2015, during the softball game against Penn State at Secchia Stadium. The Spartans defeated the Nittany Lions 8-6. Hannah Levy/The State News</p>

The team celebrates a good inning March 29, 2015, during the softball game against Penn State at Secchia Stadium. The Spartans defeated the Nittany Lions 8-6. Hannah Levy/The State News

Photo by Hannah Levy | The State News

Another weekend of poor pitching has sunk the softball team into the basement of the Big Ten standings.

En route to being swept, MSU (16-20 overall, 1-8 Big Ten) allowed 33 runs against Rutgers (19-9 overall, 7-2 Big Ten) this weekend.

The low point for the pitching staff came Saturday afternoon, when the Spartans gave up 22 runs and squandered a 17-9 lead in the span of two innings, resulting in a 22-17 loss.

The 22 runs allowed were the most in program history and overshadowed an excellent hitting display by the Spartans in the fourth inning,

During the fourth they set another program record for most runs scored in an inning by scoring 16.

Even pitchers who had success early on in the season such as redshirt freshman Kristina Zalewski, whose ERA at one point was 0.56, are struggling to find a rhythm currently.

“(Zalewski) isn’t in a good place right now, and (sophomore Valerie Kaff) isn’t in a good place right now,” head coach Jacquie Joseph said. “They’ll be the first ones to tell you that.” 

Kaff has given up 13 earned runs in her last three appearances and Zalewski isn’t far behind with 12 earned runs over the same period.

On the season, the Spartans are allowing 5.01 runs per game, which is good for the middle of the pack in the conference.

MSU’s lack of quality pitching is exaggerated by an offense that has scored the third fewest runs in the conference.

“We scored enough runs to win at least two games,” Joseph said about the series against Rutgers. “We’re scoring enough runs to win. We got to sure up some things a little bit.” 

MSU’s staff may get a little bit of a reprieve when Toledo (12-22 overall, 0-6 MAC) comes to town. The Rockets average a little over four runs per game and hit at a pedestrian .281 clip.

“The players are playing extremely hard. They’re in the battle. They’re in the fight,” Joseph said. “I hope that we can come out and put a good effort in three categories together.” 

The Spartans will take on Toledo in East Lansing during a one game matchup 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Toledo is on a six-game losing streak and is averaging three runs per game over their last three contests.

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