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MSU softball drops series finale to Wisconsin in 9-3 decision

March 26, 2023
<p>First Baseman Collette Allen and shortstop Anna Fox catch a player into a pickle and gets her out during the first series game against Wisconsin on March 24, 2023, at Secchia Softball Stadium.</p>

First Baseman Collette Allen and shortstop Anna Fox catch a player into a pickle and gets her out during the first series game against Wisconsin on March 24, 2023, at Secchia Softball Stadium.

Despite a commanding start and early lead, Michigan State softball finished its three-game series against Wisconsin with a 9-3 loss at home on Sunday

Sophomore pitcher Faith Guidry started in the circle for the Spartans and was perfect in the first inning, allowing no hits until the second inning. Guidry had a solid performance throughout the four innings she pitched, finishing the game with a strikeout and two earned runs.

“I think (Guidry) threw well,” MSU head coach Sharonda McDonald-Kelley said. “For her to have faced those hitters, now, three games in-a-row, I thought she did a good job of coming in and being solid out there. We asked our pitchers just to give us a chance to win, and I thought she did that.” 

Wisconsin notched the first hit of the day thanks to a single from sophomore infielder Ellie Hubbard

The Spartans soon answered with a hit from junior first baseman Alexis Barroso. Junior right fielder Jenae Wash followed it up with a bunt, advancing herself to first base and Barroso to second. Senior center fielder Kendall Kates then put up a bunt of her own to push Wash to second and Barroso to third. A throwing error handed the Spartans their first run of the day to move them ahead 1-0 in the bottom of the second

Freshman second baseman Mandy Esman extended MSU’s lead in the bottom of the third when she launched the ball over the fence, sending junior first baseman Collette Allen to home plate.

The fourth inning was quiet, with no runs or hits on either side of the bat. Wisconsin then dominated at the top of the fifth inning with four runs and two hits, coming from behind to take the lead 4-2. 

Sophomore pitcher Madison Taylor came in to relieve Guidry at the bottom of the fifth. There was one more change in the circle for MSU when junior Ashlyn Roberts took over in the sixth inning.

The Spartans were able to cut the Badgers' lead to one when senior third baseman Jess Mabrey hit a single into left field, and a throwing error brought senior shortstop Anna Fox home to score.

Wisconsin gave another impressive showing in the sixth inning recording two runs and three hits. Sophomore outfielder Molly Schlosser and sophomore infielder Kate Linkletter scored to increase the lead to 6-3. 

The Badgers pulled away further in the seventh, picking up three additional runs and four hits. MSU made a few attempts, but ultimately had no response to the dominant Wisconsin offense

“They took advantage of our mistakes that we made,” McDonald-Kelley said of Wisconsin. “They just never stopped swinging. They kept putting the pressure on, (and) they had some quality at bats when they needed to.” 

The Spartans finish the series 1-2 after they split wins with the Badgers on Friday, falling 5-3 in the first game before rallying back to a 8-3 victory in the second.

McDonald-Kelly said she thought the team had a good offensive plan to start the game on Sunday and that it showed.

“We did well early and kind of went away from it a little bit, and I think that hurt us,” McDonald-Kelly said. But I think there were some promising things – obviously it didn't go our way today – but some promising things I think our team can take away from it.” 

The loss puts MSU at 10-14 on the year and 1-2 in Big Ten play. The Spartans host Detroit Mercy on Wednesday at 5 p.m. before resuming conference play at Maryland in a three-game series next weekend

“I think we'll get back to practice and just work a lot of defensive stuff, and continuing to have a good offensive plan and working on executing that,” McDonald-Kelley said. “I told our players, ‘you guys just have to believe that the team that showed up on Friday and played great can be the same team that shows up every day.’” 

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