Michigan State softball took the victory over Central Michigan on Tuesday afternoon at Secchia Stadium, 8-0.
Sophomore Ashley Miller pitched until the 6th inning, finishing her day with no runs given, five strikeouts and only four hits allowed until junior Sarah Ladd subbed in. The game picked up quickly as the Chippewas immediately had two hits, but Miller shut it down fast.
"It wasn't how I expected to start the game, but after those hits I acknowledged that this happens sometimes and I know my team's got my back. I've got to throw it in there and get things to happen," Miller said. "Honestly, I didn't think too much of it because I wasn't worried.”
Senior Jessica Mabrey put up the first run early on in the bottom of the first with a RBI from junior Camryn Wincher, leaving the score at 1-0 at the end up the inning. Miller came back for the second inning ready to improve. She stuck with it and pitched a zero run, zero hit inning.
"She's usually much better and sharper than how she pitched today. I was however impressed with how well se did on not her best day. She wasn't her best, and yet she did what she needed to do, she battled through some things and I was really proud of her for that," Michigan State Head Coach Jacquie Joseph said.
While CMU struck out almost immediately at the top of the third. MSU finished with a different outcome. Both senior Courtney Callahan and Wincher scored, ending the inning with the bases loaded.
"Going into this game I told myself to be selfless and to put the team before myself. I asked myself what I can do to make the team better, and what can I do to help bring home the win," Wincher said.
The following two innings were quiet for both teams, striking out early on, but she Spartans quickly got going on offense and brought in four more runs during the 5th inning.
Wincher went on to score another run in the 6th inning, resulting in a mercy for the Chippewas.
Ladd had to make sure to maintain what Miller had set out to do previously. Ladd successfully ended the Chippewas' day with one hit and one player on base.
"I've had a lot of experience with being a relief pitcher, and you always have to be ready for anything and to back up your teammates," Ladd said. I went in there with a mindset that it's our game and we're going to win this as long as I back up every person that I can."
The Spartans will head to Northwestern this weekend where they will kick off their first Big Ten conference game of the season with a three game series.
"Northwestern is a really good team top to bottom. Honestly, if our team can play like we did today I think we can really surprise some people in the Big Ten. We're an underrated team. Our defense played great, and hitting has been looking good, and we can show people that we can be good this year," Miller said.
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