MSU softball kicked off an 11-game home stand with its home opener and a 7-2 win against Western Michigan University.
The season began on Feb. 10 and MSU has endured 26 straight road games, which mounted to a 15-11 overall record. With the victory over the Broncos, the Spartans are now 16-11 overall, 0-3 in the Big Ten.
Head coach Jacquie Joseph and her team snapped a seven game losing streak which started nearly three weeks ago.
Joseph earned her No. 650 career win with the Spartans. If the green and white can win 14 more games this season, Joseph will have 800 wins to her name in 29 seasons as a head coach, 24 with MSU.
“It means I’ve been around a while,” Joseph said jokingly. “But I’m thrilled frankly, I think it’s awesome. I had no idea and it’s just great to be able to celebrate at home with our people.”
The Spartans surrendered the first run of the game in the top of the second inning. The lone lefty hitter in the Broncos’ starting line-up, Aspen Williams, pulled an inside pitch to deep right field over the 200 foot fence for a solo home run.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, first baseman Sarah Gutknecht rocked a fastball from Western Michigan's Anissa Sanchez to deep right-center field. Her home run was the sixth of the year and tied the ballgame 1-1.
“I mean it felt good, I struck out the first at bat so it’s nice to go out there swinging,” Gutknecht said.
MSU continued the hit parade, first baseman Kelcey Carrasco ripped a line drive through the left side of the infield and shortstop McKenzie Long reached base safely.
Later in the inning, right fielder Kelly Zackrison hit the ball with the cap of the bat, but the spin on the ball took a bad hop for Bronco second baseman Brooke Wyman and went through her legs. Zackrison reached first on an error, and MSU was in with its second run of the inning.
Second baseman Melanie Baccay followed with a single up the middle, scoring catcher Lindsey Besson. MSU would knock across one more run, ending the fourth with four.
Carrasco would add another hit in the bottom of the fifth inning, this time she delivered a homer to deep right-center field, pushing the lead to four runs. This is the second straight game Carrasco took a pitch deep for six home runs this year.
“Being a freshman and being my first home game has been awesome, just seeing the fans, seeing the crowd,” Carrasco said. “Being able to feel comfortable on our own field and being able to breath a little bit, especially like she said, coming off a couple losses, I think being back on our home turf really gives a us a little boost going into this next Big Ten series.”
MSU left fielder Ebonee Echols drove in two runs with a sixth inning triple, her eighth of the season.
Eight separate Spartans earned a hit against the Broncos, Carrasco with two.
“It’s gonna be tough,” Carrasco said. “You’re gonna have to pitch to everyone in our lineup and we’re gonna go down fighting. There’s not one girl that you can’t pitch to because we’re just fighting, we are going to fight through it all. We are going to be a tough lineup one through nine.”
The Spartans will play a three-game series against Big Ten foe Maryland Terrapins starting on Friday at 4 p.m. Last season MSU was 1-2 in three games against Maryland.
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