Spartans Fall to No. 3 Huskies, 8-0
Feb. 16, 2014
East Lansing, Mich. - - Michigan State suffered a 8-0 loss in five innings to Pac-12 entry Washington on Saturday evening at the Littlewood Classic in Tempe, Arizona. Freshman Kristina Zalewski threw two innings of relief for the Spartans, allowing just one run in her third career appearance. MSU falls to 2-4 on the season.
"That's a very, very good team with an eye, ultimately, on a National Championship," said head coach Jacquie Joseph. "We've struggled a bit at the plate so far, and facing a pitcher of that caliber was not going to be an easy way for us to break out of that. They are so good in all areas - for us, we just need to get some rest and get back after it tomorrow. It won't get easier, as we face another quality team in Oklahoma."
Washington, No. 3 in the national poll this week, has run-ruled all four of its opponents at the Littlewood Classic, and outscored those four teams 54-2. The Huskies team, which returned most of its core from the College World Series team a year ago, downed SIUE-Edwardsville in its first game of the day by a 17-0 margin. MSU allowed the fewest runs of any opponent this weekend to the Huskies, but Washington rode strong pitching and its red-hot hitting to its fifth straight run-rule victory to improve to 9-0 on the season.
No. 2 hitter, freshman Ali Aguilar, hit a two-run homer in the top of the first to score leadoff hitter Victoria Hayward and give the Huskies an early lead, but starter Kelly Smith retired the remaining batters - including two putouts by freshman Sarah Gutknecht, who got her first start at third base - to get out of the first with a 2-0 deficit.
Hot-hitting Washington added five runs on five hits in the second inning, as Aguilar added two more RBI on a base hit, and Kaitlin Inglesby hit a long home run to make it 7-0 in favor of the Huskies at the end of two innings.
Zalewski came on in relief for Smith to throw in the bottom of the third, and allowed a one-out single to Whitney Jones, who then stole second. Zalewski got herself out of the jam when she turned an impressive double play, as the freshman snagged a liner hit back to the mound, then wheeled and doubled Jones off of second to get out of the inning.
Meanwhile, UW starter Bryana Walker, who pitched a perfect game earlier in the day against SIUE, stymied the Spartan batters. Pinch hitter Ellie Stoffer broke up a second-straight perfect game bid by Walker with two outs in the top of the 4th, lacing a two-out single to left for MSU's first hit of the night, and also her first hit of the season. Walker, however, got Kassidy Kujawa to ground out to end the inning, which also brought a halt to the freshman's four-game hitting streak.
The Huskies generated their eighth run in the bottom of the fourth on a single by Inglesby, but Zalewski worked out of an ensuing jam with runners at the corners to get out of the inning with just one run allowed.
Inglesby came on to pitch for the Huskies in the top of the fifth, retiring the Spartans in order to secure the victory for UW.
MSU has faced two top-30 teams this weekend, falling to San Jose State and now Washington. The Spartans get their third ranked opponent of the weekend when they face defending National Champion Oklahoma. Gametime is 3:30 p.m. ET.
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