MSU ended their weekend series in dramatic fashion as the Spartans won 3-2 in walk-off fashion in their final game of the weekend against Purdue.
Before the game, MSU honored senior Joanna Bartz, who has been a constant leader for the team over her tenure as a Spartan, so much so that she will be returning to the team next year as a player-coach.
"There's not enough time in the day for me to talk about how great of a human being Joanna Bartz is," Head Coach Jacquie Joseph said. "I don't invite players back to coach that I don't 100% believe in."
The game started a little rough for the Spartans as Purdue hit a two-run home run in the top of the first inning off of MSU pitcher Alli Walker. This would be the only run MSU would give up on the day as the pitching settled in as the game went on. Alli Walker would finish her day with four strikeouts, and freshman Ashley Miller would take the mound in the top of the fourth and continue the great pitching for MSU.
"She (Miller) was lights out, but let's not discount Alli Walker's start," said Joseph. "The two of their performances gave us a chance to win."
MSU’s bats came alive in the bottom of the third inning as junior Mackenzie Meech hit a RBI single, as part of her 3 for 3 hitting performance. Shortly after Alex Borrosso got hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, evening the score at 2-2.
MSU would have another chance to take the lead in the fifth inning, but after a sacrifice bunt by Meech advanced runners to second and third base, MSU was unable to take advantage and left the inning with the score still knotted up at 2-2.
Purdue had a surge in the top of the sixth inning to take the lead, as they had the bases loaded with one out. Miller didn’t panic and kept the game under control, creating a force out at home plate to save a run and then forcing a ground out to end the inning stopping Purdue from scoring any runs and taking the lead.
Another pair of freshmen would save the day for MSU in the final half-inning. After freshman Marissa Trivelpiece began the inning with a walk, it set up freshman Alex Barroso as she hit a walk-off double to centerfield to win the game for MSU.
"I really came up looking for that change-up, looking to drive the ball into the outfield, at least move the runners," said Barroso. "
Borosso laughingly said she wished the double had a little more distance for a home run, but the hug coach Joseph gave her after the game felt just as good as the hit.
MSU had three freshmen step up and play exceptionally today, ironically on a senior day. It shows not only the leadership from the upperclassmen to help them grow, but the dedication by the freshman to improve their games.
"Our freshman class stays after practice every single day," said Joseph. "Their success is not an accident ... hard work pays off."
MSU heads on the road next weekend as they prepare for a series against Indiana in Bloomington.
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