Feb. 10, 2018
PDF Box: MSU 4, NIU 3
Senior Lea Foerster delivered an RBI hit with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning for a 4-3 walkoff victory over Northern Illinois on Saturday in Boca Raton.
Michigan State (2-2) evened its record on the young season with two wins on the day, following up an 8-0 run-rule victory over Bethune-Cookman with the walkoff victory in the nightcap. Senior pitcher Bridgette Rainey picked up the win in her second straight complete game, scattering seven hits and striking out seven.
While it the hit from Foerster that ultimately delivered the walkoff victory, it was MSU's commitment to small ball that put the Spartans in the position to win in the bottom of the seventh inning. A leadoff walk to Ebonee Echols was followed by bunt singles from Lindsey Besson and Melanie Baccay to load the bases. One out later, Besson came home with the winning run on Foerster's shot into center.
Jordan Davis had a pinch-hit two-run fielder's choice in the fifth inning that turned a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead for the Spartans. NIU tied the game in the sixth inning on an RBI single by Jessica Rio.
In the circle, Rainey got some help from a few impressive defensive plays - including back to back web gems from Melanie Baccay and Katie Quinlan in the top of the seventh inning with a runner on third base.
MSU has one game remaining on the weekend - a 9 am tilt on Sunday morning against Boston University to close the tournament.
Lea Foerster went 2-for-2, both doubles, with one RBI and a walk.
McKenzie Long and Kelcey Carrasco each went 2-for-4.
Ebonee Echols went 2-for-2 with a pair of walks and an RBI.
Bridgette Rainey tossed her second straight complete game, scattering seven hits, eight walks, and recording seven strikeouts.
"We got wins in two very different types of ballgames today, which is good for our team. As I thought we would, we had a better approach at the plate than we did on Friday. We also got two really, really good pitching performances, and our pitching staff has thrown four straight complete games. We have an opportunity to close out this tournament on a high note tomorrow, and I'll be looking for the same things from our team that made us successful in our games today."
Head Coach Jacquie Joseph
STATS AND STORYLINES
The Spartans loaded the bases in the bottom of the first. After Rainey worked out of a bases-loaded jam with one out in the top of the inning, the Spartans started a two-out rally with a walks by Lexi White and Laney Joyner sandwiched around a single by Kelcey Carrasco to load the bases. Starter Keegan Hayes walked a run in by issuing a free pass to Ebonee Echols to keep the bases loaded, but an impressive snag by second baseman Kalalael Toomalatai robbed Lindsey Besson of a base hit and RBI to end the inning.
Jenny VanGeerty tied it up for NIU with an RBI triple into the gap in right center, but she got caught off third base in a rundown for the second out of the inning. She rocked a second triple in the top of the fourth inning to give NIU a 2-1 lead.
Carrasco laced a one-out single to center to lead off the fifth inning to try to get a rally started for the Spartans, and that was the end of the day for Hayes. Tara Thacker came on and walked Laney Joyner, and Echols loaded the bases with a single through the middle. Jordan Davis stepped in as a pinch hitter and delivered fielder's choice that scored two runs. After a single by pinch hitter Caitie Ladd, an infield popup ended the inning.
NIU tied it up in the top of the sixth, using a leadoff single, sac bunt and fielder's choice put runners on the corners. A single by Jessica Rio brought the tying run across the plate, knotting the game at 3-3.
MSU threatened in the bottom of the sixth, when Lea Foerster led off with a double and McKenzie Long followed with a bunt single to put runners on the corners. However, a popup, a fielder's choice by Carrasco, and a strikeout ended the inning for the Spartans, stranding the two runners - including the go-ahead runner at third.
In the top of the seventh, Alaynie Woolard drew a one-out walk and stole second, and after a nice snag by Baccay at second that nearly becamse an inning-ending double play, Katie Quinlan made a diving catch in foul territory in right for the third out of the inning with a runner on third base.
Small ball won the game for the Spartans in the seventh. Echols drew a leadoff walk, and a pair of textbook bunts from Lindsey Besson and Melanie Baccay loaded the bases. Katie Quinlan hit into a fielder's choice, but Foerster stepped in and delivered the walkoff hit into center field for a two-run double.