The Michigan State softball team crushed Oakland on Wednesday night 11-3. Being their first night game of the season, the Spartans were excited to start playing under their newly installed lights.
In the first inning, the Spartans pitched first with sophomore pitcher Alli Walker striking out Oakland’s first player at bat Kelsie Swanson. Oakland's Jessie Munson singled up the middle and was tagged out shortly after. Walker struck out Oakland's Brittney Miller at bat to close the first half of the first inning.
“We got our confidence back and learned how to rely on each other again and kind of get back in our groove,” Walker said.
Junior second baseman Melanie Baccay started off the batting lineup for the Spartans followed by freshman third baseman/catcher Charla Echols who slammed the ball out of the park for a home run. Senior outfielder Ebonee Echols and senior third baseman Kaitlyn Eveland stole bases later in the inning, ending the inning at 1-0 Spartans.
In an action packed second inning, Baccay and freshman first baseman/utility player MacKenzie Meech worked together to tag out two members of Oakland’s team. Oakland's Jackie Reitmayer hit a ball to the fence, however the Spartans managed to throw it back to Eveland and make it the final out for the Golden Grizzlies. With the Spartans at bat in the bottom of the second, senior outfielder Kelly Zackrison stole both second and third and eventually ran home as Baccay stole second to bring the Spartans up 2-0.
Baccay, Charla and Meech scored as well, ending the second inning with a score of 5-0 Spartans.
“We haven’t been playing to the best of our potential and we’ve been working really hard to get back to what we’ve been doing, how we play,” said Charla. “ … I thought we did that.”
Junior pitcher Jordan Watson took over for Walker in the third inning, and Ebonee made a huge foul ball catch to end the top of the third. At the bottom of the third, Zackrison, sophomore shortstop/utility player Caitie Ladd and freshman outfielder Courtney Callahan scored to bring the score to 8-0 Spartans.
After three innings at the top of the fourth, junior shortstop Jamie Squires, senior outfielder Mikayela Marciniak and Jackie Reitmayer scored for the Golden Grizzlies, bringing the score to 8-3.
In the bottom of the fourth, sophomore catcher Shae Schreckengost drove her first career home run past the fence to bring in Zackrison, increasing the score to 10-3. Redshirt junior first baseman Katelyn Hendershott had her first career base hit at the bottom of the fifth inning. Freshman outfielder Abby Joseph scored the final run for the team, ending the five-inning game with a Spartan win 11-3.
“I thought we played well as a team,” MSU coach Jacquie Joseph said. “Both Echols kids really had a day on the plate, but we played well on defense.”
The team will host Maryland at Secchia Stadium at 6 p.m. for a three game weekend series starting Friday, April 5.