Feb. 14, 2014
East Lansing, Mich. - - Michigan State fell to 2-2 on the season with a 7-2 loss to San Jose State (7-0 ) in the first game of the Littlewood Classic at Arizona State. A two-run fifth, followed by a three-run sixth inning, sunk MSU, as its pitching staff surrendered 11 hits and walked six batters. San Jose State pitcher Allison Lang pitched a complete game and allowed five hits for the win.
It was a bit of a rocky start for MSU starter Kelly Smith in the circle, as she walked three consecutive batters after retiring the first two on a popup and a flyout to left. She got out of her own jam, however, getting Sharon-Renae Estrada swinging at a 2-2 pitch to keep the game scoreless in the first. MSU got on the board in the bottom of the inning, as Kujawa smacked a two-out single to center to plate Destinee Luna. The hit extended Kujawa's hitting streak to three games, the team's current active streak.
In top of the second, SJSU scored twice to take a 2-1 lead. With runners at second and third, Jesse Hufstetler smacked a two-out single up the middle to plate both Nicole Schultz and Taylor Purdy, but Smith ended the rally by getting Jessica Garcia to pop out to short to end the top half of the inning. MSU tied the score in the bottom of the frame, as Besson laced a two-out single to right; Jacquie Reiser then reached base on an error to bring Besson across the plate, but was thrown out at second.
The 2-2 tie held up until the top of the fifth, when San Jose State pushed two runs across to take a 4-2 lead. SJSU struck again with two outs, as Casey Watt reached on catcher's interference, followed by a single by Purdy, her second hit of the day. Senior Devin Caldwell tripled to center off freshman Valerie Kaff, scoring both runners. Lang worked a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom half of the fifth to hold on to the two-run lead for SJSU.
San Jose State tacked on three more in the top of the fifth. Alyssa Martinez led off with a single to center, followed by Hufstetler's second hit of the day, which sent Martinez to third. Senior Jessica Garcia got the third straight single for SJSU, plating Martinez for the fifth run of the game. Jesse Meyer then grounded out to second, but advanced the runners to second and third; Estrada then flew out to right, plating pinch runner Chelsea Jenner. Pinch hitter Erin Rodriguez singled to right to push SJSU's lead to 7-2, and freshman Kristina Zalewski came in to relieve Kaff. Zalewski got Purdy to ground out to third, getting MSU out of the inning.
MSU tried to get back into it in the bottom of the sixth, but Kujawa grounded into a double play after an inning-opening walk to Sarah Bowling; Shanin Thomas followed with a single to right, but Sarah Gutknecht struck out to end the inning.
After Zalewski retired SJSU in the top of the seventh (facing just four batters), MSU came to the plate for its final at-bat looking to chip away at SJSU's lead. Besson laced a one-out single to left, but pinch hitter Carly Nielsen grounded into a double play to end the game.
MSU will play a second game today, against SIU-Edwardsville.