Feb. 8, 2013
DELAND, Fla. – The Michigan State softball team kicked off its season defeating Stetson, 4-1, in the opening game of the Leadoff Classic on Friday afternoon. Junior Kelly Smith compiled 10 strikeouts in her debut game as a Spartan, while sophomore catcher Ellie Stoffer notched three hits and two RBIs at the plate.
“It was great to get the first game under our belts,” said head coach Jacquie Joseph. “Generally we played well and I’m looking forward to tomorrow. Kelly Smith was outstanding in her first game as a Spartan.”
Neither team scored in the first two innings, as MSU’s Smith, a junior college transfer from McLennan (Texas) Community College, struck out five of the first six Stetson batters.
The Spartans scored their first run of the game in the third inning. Sophomore McKinzie Freimuth led off with a bunt single, followed by a single from Stoffer to put runners on first and second. Senior Jenny Ramsaier posted a sacrifice bunt, moving Freimuth to third base and Stoffer to second. A ground out to second base by senior Kylene Hopkins allowed Freimuth to cross the plate.
MSU scored twice in the fourth to take a 3-0 lead. Senior Jayme O’Bryant began the frame by reaching second base on a throwing error by the Stetson third baseman. Junior Dana Briggs, who pinch ran for O’Bryant, reached third on a sacrifice bunt, and then scored on a throwing error by the Stetson catcher. Carly Neilsen also reached base in the inning on an error, and after stealing second, scored on Stoffer’s RBI double.
The Spartans extended their lead to 4-0 in the top of the sixth. With two outs and Nielsen on second, Stoffer collected her second RBI of the game with another run-scoring double.
Stetson finally got to Smith in the bottom of the sixth, as junior Cassee Layne entered the game after Smith allowed a walk and a single. Layne struck out the next Hatter swinging before the loading the bases with a walk. Stetson left fielder Jordan Cleghorn drove in one run with a single up the middle, but Hopkins fired the ball in from center field to Stoffer at the plate to get Demi Meza out at home for the third out of the inning.
Layne closed out the game in the seventh to record the save, the second of her career.
Stoffer finished the game with 3-for-3 with two RBIs, while Hopkins notched one RBI. Smith pitched 5 1/3 innings and gave up only one run to the Hatters.
The Spartans are back in action tomorrow as they face South Carolina at 1:30 p.m. and Stetson at 6:30 p.m.