Thursday, June 30, 2022

FINAL: Michigan State softball falls to Oakland in second meeting of the season, 10-5

April 6, 2022
<p>Freshman pitcher Faith Guidry (5) warms up to pitch during the fourth inning. The Spartans fell to the Golden Grizzlies, 10-5, on April 5, 2022. </p>

Freshman pitcher Faith Guidry (5) warms up to pitch during the fourth inning. The Spartans fell to the Golden Grizzlies, 10-5, on April 5, 2022.

Photo by Lauren DeMay | The State News

It was a beautiful day for softball as the Michigan State Spartans (20-16, 1-5 Big Ten) took the field against the Oakland Golden Grizzlies (11-8) for the second time this season.

Their first meeting happened on March 20, when the Spartans walked away with a 9-0 mercy ruling victory after only five innings, meaning Oakland was on a revenge tour this time around.

It showed when the Golden Grizzlies dished out more than MSU could take and tallied six runs alone in the top of the third inning, serving the Spartans a 10-5 loss on a silver platter.

"One of the things is ... you gotta respect the game, or this game will bite you in the butt," MSU Head Coach Jacquie Joseph said postgame. "We came out and we weren't nearly (as) sharp on the mound. Give them credit, they hit every single pitch that we missed and they beat the s--- out of us tonight, and that's just the way it is. They played better on defense and pitched better and hit better, that's just the way that goes."

The evening hit off on a fast ball, Oakland scoring two back-to-back runs with zero outs. But, with junior pitcher Sarah Ladd at the mound, that was no contest. Sarah Ladd struck out one of the next three batters, keeping the Golden Grizzly runners on second and third bases from completing the circle.

MSU returned the energy in the bottom of the second inning when sophomore infielder Zaquai Dumas blasted a base-clearing bullet, bringing herself and freshman infielder Kayleigh Roper home on zero outs.

However, it was a short-lived triumph when Oakland took the plate again in the top of the third. Redshirt junior Lauren Griffith knocked in a second double of the game before managing to advance to third on a teammate's foul out.

Redshirt senior infielder Jessie Munson added a single onto there and then stole second base. Redshirt senior outfielder Shannon Carr stepped up to bat for her second attempt after striking out during her first. She reached first on a fielder's choice to shortstop, and that was that the bases were loaded with only one out and plenty of opportunities.

Freshman pitcher Mia Konyvka singled up the middle for a double RBI and Carr advanced to third, Oakland going up 4-2 off Griffith and Munson. While sophomore outfielder/shortstop Maci Brown struck the second team out, sophomore outfielder Allisa DiPrimia managed to single up the middle and bring another girl home in Carr.

It didn't end there. The top of the roster returned, and redshirt senior infielder Madison Jones launched another missile homer to bring home herself, DiPrimia and Konyvka. The inning went on to be 6-0 before the Spartans even had a glimpse of a chance.

(1:00) "Their best players won the game for them," Joseph said. "When your best players show up, you've got a shot. I still felt we were in it, but we just didn't get enough hits when we needed them. We left a lot (of runners on base), ... we left seven. ... Our top two kids were 0-for-5 and their top two kids were like, 6-for-8 (or something)."

Senior outfielder Courtney Callahan and junior infielder Camryn Wincher added two more runs to the Spartans' total in the bottom of the third but were still a large distance away from Oakland's now eight runs.

What was eight runs for the opponent turned into 10 after an error from MSU in the top of the seventh inning got an Oakland runner on third. Oakland ended the night with 14 hits and 10 runs, MSU with eight hits, five runs and two errors.

The Spartans fall 20-16 on the season and will head to Ann Arbor to face No. 23 Michigan (20-110 tomorrow for a good ol' rivalry dual.

"I'm taking nothing from today (into tomorrow), other than bad coaching, that I didn't get them ready and that's that," Joseph said. "There's nothing to learn from today other than, when you disrespect the game, you're going to be in trouble and hopefully we learned that lesson (today). These midweek games are tough."

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