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With a mix of newcomers and veterans, the Spartans start season 3-9 over two weekend series

March 19, 2021

The Spartans are looking to add more wins under the belt following two rough weekends against Northwestern, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois and Minnesota.

In the Spartans’ season opener against Northwestern, MSU fell short 5-0 in a doubleheader against the Wildcats. 

With a versatile team and a mix of newcomers and veterans, Head Coach Jacquie Joseph switched up the players according to performance.

With a strong start from Freshman Ashley Miller, the Spartans were ready to take on the Wildcats.

Recently, Miller was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week with her impressive performance in the season opener. 

In the opening weekend she totaled one shutout and 16 strikeouts with a 0.93 ERA.

“I thought we played some really tough teams, but got off to a great start and faced some challenges, but definitely powered through them,” Miller said in an interview.

With debut performances from multiple players, freshman pitcher Jala Wright threw alongside Ashley Miller, as well as Sarah Ladd having her first start of the season in game two.

“We opened today with a quality team that will be in the hunt for a Big Ten Championship and beyond … I think that we have some improvements to make in all three phases of the game, but I was very pleased with our day-one approach,” Joseph said regarding the season opener. 

“We got to put our first-years in game situations, and we were able to see improvements from our veterans.”

The Spartans made adjustments going into the next day’s doubleheader against Nebraska, splitting the games 1-1. 

Nebraska started the game off strong, adding three to their column of the scoreboard off of four MSU errors. 

Between both games, the Spartans gained base hits from Joanna Bartz, Alexis Barroso, Marissa Trivelpiece, Caitie Ladd and Kendall Kates. 

In the top of the eighth, the Spartans pushed three more runs, propelling them to the win. 

With another key performance from freshman Ashley Miller, who beat out Iowa ace, the Spartans started off strong against Iowa.

Key batting performances from MSU include Joanna Bartz, Jenea Wash and Mackenzie Meech.

The Spartans then split the series with Iowa, finishing off their opening weekend. 

With a conference-only schedule, the Spartans faced off against Illinois and Minnesota last weekend. 

MSU fell short to Illinois in a doubleheader on the first day of the series. Ultimately, on the final day, the Spartans pulled out a 5-2 win against the Fighting Illini. 

From the defense, sophomore pitcher Sarah Ladd surrendered only one base and one walk while striking out five. Miller took over and didn't allow a run while striking out three. 

The Spartans suffered three losses in the next two days against Minnesota. 

With a mixture of seasoned veterans and outstanding newcomers, the Spartans are looking to find the right groove for the rest of their season. 

The Spartans will next play a four game series against Rutgers in their first home appearance at Secchia Stadium starting March 26.

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