After ending their season in a regional final lost to Illinois State last year, the 10-11 Spartans are looking for a stronger ending to their streaky season.
Since Feb. 11, the Spartans have been on several winning streaks, but have also seen their fair share of losses. One of those winning streaks is seven games from Feb. 18 to March 3, the Spartans' highest since they won five straight last season.
“We’re a work in progress,” head coach Jacquie Joseph said. “I think we've got a good group of players. The first two weekends I thought we underachieved. I would say we can improve on our consistency, but all of the parts of the puzzle are there.”
Redshirt senior right-handed pitcher Kristina Zalewski currently ranks fifth in the Big Ten with an 1.33 ERA and ranks 11th with 48 strikeouts this season with a 3-5 record. Altogether, the Spartan pitchers put up a 2.33 ERA, giving up only 145 hits, which is fourth in the Big Ten and 49th nationally.
In her fifth season in a Spartan uniform, Zalewski knows this season is not the way they would like to start out and said she feels their teamwork can bring in the final pieces for this team.
“It hasn’t been our best season so far, but we’re looking to turn it around, but I think we stay really well together as a team,” Zalewski said.”It’s not really individuals, it’s just we’re working as a team really well.”
Junior infielder Kaitlyn Eveland leads the team with a .378 batting average. So far this season she has 37 at bats and eight runs.
Eveland said MSU's biggest struggle is getting too comfortable with its leads in the game, rather than focusing on finishing with a strong win.
“I think our biggest struggle is finishing,” Eveland said. “We’ll be up by five runs and we’ll get comfortable I feel like, and then we need to take it pitch by pitch and taking advantage of the team we’re playing instead of falling behind.”
Junior outfielder Ebonee Echols ranks second on the team with a .324 batting average and made 10 runs with 68 at bats this season.
She said she believes other teams should not underestimate them this season.
“It’s been good and bad but that’s only going to prepare us for the Big Ten,” Echols said. “We’ve played a lot of competition and we have been able to stick around longer than what people expected us to be and we’re just showing people we’re better than they think.”
The Spartans will head College Station, Texas this weekend to take on Texas A&M and Marist for the Reveille Invitational on Saturday, March 17 with first pitch at 4 p.m., while their second game is scheduled at 6:15 p.m.
They will return to Secchia Stadium on at 4 p.m. March 27 to play their home opener against Western Michigan after being on the road since Feb. 9.
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