Feb. 12, 2012
MIAMI - The Michigan State softball team suffered two losses in the second day of the Florida International Combat Classic in Miami on Saturday (Feb. 11). The Spartans fell in a tough 7-6 battle against Massachusetts then lost to Big Ten foe Illinois 8-0.
Game one against the Minutewomen proved to be an offensive affair with a total of 13 runs and 20 hits. Massachusetts scored first with a homerun in the second inning, but Michigan State retaliated with three runs in the bottom of the third.
Freshman Alyssa McBride started the Spartan scoring after she singled to the shortstop then stole second base. Lori Padilla allowed McBride to advance to third with a single, then the senior stole second herself. The bases were loaded after junior Kylene Hopkins was walked. Senior Ali Grant reached first on a fielder's choice, all runners advanced but McBride was out at home. Senior Brett Williams was walk, which reloaded the bases. Sophomore Sarah Bowling pinch hit for junior Jayme O'Bryant and earned two RBIs as she doubled down the left field line and sent Grant and Hopkins home.
UMass made it a 2-3 game in the top of the fourth when Tiffany Meeks homered into left field. Massachusetts then notched a three-run inning with a two-run homer in the fifth to regain the lead 5-3.
Michigan State narrowed the gap to 5-4 in the next half inning. Hopkins reached second base with a single to left field and a sacrifice bunt by Grant. Williams hit a pop-up to centerfield, which advanced Hopkins to third. An error by the UMass shortstop gave Hopkins the go-ahead to score, making it a 6-4 game.
The Spartan pitching staff faltered in the sixth as two runs were scored when three batters were hit by a pitch and two more were walked.
In the bottom of the seventh, with two runners on base, O'Bryant sent one home with a fielder's choice, putting the score a 7-5. The second run came off a throwing error by the UMass third basemen, but it wasn't enough to stop the Minutewomen from topping the Spartans 7-6.
In the second game of the evening Illinois got an early lead of the Spartans with a five-run first inning. With a runner on first, Jessica Davis doubled to center then Meredith Hackett homered to right field scoring three runs. The only Spartan error of the day allowed Brittany Sanchez to reach first, then a double by Jess Perkins sent Sanchez home, making it a 4-0 game. The Fighting Illini scored another run with a sacrifice fly ball when the bases were loaded.
A single homerun by Davis increased the Illinois lead to 6-0 in the second inning. The final two runs of the five-inning game were notched in the bottom of the fourth. With runners on first and second, a single from Jackie Guy was enough to send Perkins home. Jami Schkade followed up with another single to left field, which brought the runner on third home and the score to 8-0.
The action continues tomorrow when Michigan State faces UAB at 11 a.m. in the final matchup of the Combat Classic.