Thursday, October 22, 2020

FINAL: MSU softball dismantles Maryland in series opener, 11-3

March 31, 2017
The Spartans gather to talk during the game against Maryland on March 31, 2017 at Secchia Stadium. The Spartans defeated the Terrapins, 11-3.
The Spartans gather to talk during the game against Maryland on March 31, 2017 at Secchia Stadium. The Spartans defeated the Terrapins, 11-3. —
Photo by Jon Famurewa | and Jon Famurewa The State News

When it rains it pours.

On a dreary and rainy Friday afternoon, the MSU softball team faced the University of Maryland to open up a three-game series.

Tied 3-3 to begin the bottom of the fourth, the Spartans scored eight unanswered runs to beat the Terrapins 11-3 in six innings.

"We did what we needed to do," MSU head coach Jacquie Joseph said. "We got a good starting pitching outing, we scored first, we scored in multiple innings, we played just well enough on defense to minimize the damage and then we got great relief pitching from a freshman — Jordan Watson. So all in all, I really liked us a lot today. I thought we did a lot of positive things."

Pinch-hitter Katelyn Hendershott brought home a run on a fielder’s choice as junior shortstop McKenzie Long scored the game-ending run.

In two at-bats, junior centerfielder Lea Foerster recorded two hits and two runs in the win as she has reached base safely in 24 consecutive games.

"I'm so, so happy with how we played today," Foerster said. "I just felt like hitting, pitching and defense was just really awesome today. We worked really, really hard at practice all this week (to) just get ready. It's our first home series, so we just really wanted to come out on this game and just throw punches and I feel like we did that today."

Sophomore outfielder Ebonee Echols registered three runs and one hit in four at-bats.

Echols' hitting streak reached 11 games in the win and is the longest streak for any Spartan this season. 

Left-handed pitcher Kristina Zalewski started on the mound for the Spartans and pitched five innings. The redshirt junior allowed seven hits, three runs and improved her pitching record to 2-3 on the season.

The Spartans were hot off the plate in the opening inning.

Junior centerfielder Lea Foerster led off for MSU to begin the game and was walked by Maryland’s Madison Martin. Echols then reached first on a fielder’s choice that allowed Foerster to get to second.

After sophomore third baseman Kaitlyn Eveland struck out swinging, freshman Kelcey Carrasco followed up by getting on base by another fielder’s choice as Echols advanced to second, but led to Foerster getting out.

Senior first baseman Sarah Gutknecht doubled to left center as Maryland was unable to secure the ball in the outfield. Carrasco and Echols capitalized by scoring the game’s first two runs, taking an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first.

The Spartans’ next batter, junior shortstop McKenzie Long, followed up the two-run performance with a single up that middle that allowed Gutknecht to score.

MSU ended the inning with three runs, two hits and a 3-0 lead.

After a scoreless second inning by both teams, the Terrapins recorded their first run of the game at the top of the third.

With the bases loaded, Maryland’s Skylynne Ellazar recorded a RBI off a fielder’s choice that gave way to Julie Strange scoring and cutting the Terrapins deficit to two.

Hannah Dewey then singled to right field sending Amanda Brashear home for the Terrapins second score of the game.

The Spartans couldn’t retaliate to two-straight runs in the third inning by the Terrapins as they went down in order at the bottom of the third, but still led, 3-2.

For the second-straight inning, the Spartans allowed the Terrapins to load the bases.

Maryland was able to capitalize on the loaded bases as Long committed an error in the infield, which allowed Sami Main to register the tying run for Maryland at the top of the third.

The Spartans followed by loading the bases in the bottom of the fourth after a single to the right side by Echols.

MSU regained the lead after Maryland’s Martin walked Eveland. With the bases loaded, the walk sent Melanie Baccay home to take a 4-3 lead.

The Spartans added onto their lead following the walk and score.

Carrasco registered a three-run, double to left field as Eveland, Echols and Foerster all scored. Following the four runs in the fourth, the Spartans led Maryland, 7-3.

At the top of the fifth, the Spartans suffered an injury scare as Echols attempted to catch a foul ball, but slipped under the tarp along the fence along the left side. Echols had to receive medical attention, but was able to walk off the field on her own power.

"I dove for a ball and then I was a little shaken up," Echols said. "But we got it together and we came back out."

After Foerster was walked, it allowed MSU to load the bases once more with no outs in the bottom of the fifth.

Echols then reached first on a fielder's choice with Foerster advancing to second and Baccay to third, but Besson was called out at home.

With the bases still loaded, Baccay extended the Spartans’ lead after scoring on an error. Echols later scored on a wild pitch that hit the backstop to give the Spartans a 10-3 lead.

Despite scoring three runs, the Spartans didn’t record a hit in the fifth inning.

The Spartans then made a pitching change in the sixth inning as Zalewski was replaced by Jordan Watson.

Maryland went down in order and couldn't cut the Spartans lead in the sixth as it set up the game-ending run by Long to help improve MSU's record to 17-11 on the season.

The Spartans will face the Terrapins Friday and Saturday to conclude the three-game series. Both games will be at 1 p.m.

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