Feb. 22, 2014
Columbia, S.C. - Michigan State dropped both of its games at the South Carolina Gamecock Invitational on Saturday, falling to Boston University, 11-4 in game one and by a 9-0 score to the host team in five innings in the nightcap. MSU falls to 3-7, and looks to bounce back on Sunday in a game against Georgetown.
"Both games were different for us today," said head coach Jacquie Joseph. "I challenged our team after the first game, and we were much more aggressive in the second game . The score won't show it, because we were facing a very different, SEC-tested pitcher in our second game. I thought we let Boston University scratch and claw their way back into the game this morning, and I wanted to see us lay it on the line. We responded positively, but still - a loss is a loss. We have an opportunity to finish out the trip in a positive manner tomorrow against Georgetown, and that's the challenge for our team - to come and bring that level of play on Sunday. "
In game one, MSU put three runs on the board in the second inning and added one in the fourth to take a 4-1 lead. However, MSU let the Terriers back in it with two runs in the top of the fourth, the tying run in the fifth, a go-ahead marker in the sixth, and a six-run rally in the top of the seventh as MSU's bats went quiet after taking the 4-1 advantage. Sarah Gutknecht had a pair of hits on the day, while Lindsey Besson, Carly Nielsen, and Destinee Luna had the other hits for MSU.
MSU's three-run rally in the second started as Carly Neilsen singled to right. Alyssa McBride reached base on her sacrifice bunt attempt on an error by the first baseman, moving Nielsen to third. McBride stole second, and Jacquie Reiser's sacrifice bunt attempt turned into defensive chaos for the Terriers, as Reiser reached on a fielder's choice, plating Nielsen to allow MSU to knot the score at one. Defensive chaos for the Terriers came on the next batter, as McKinzie Freimuth reached on a fielder's choice, as McBride came home; a throw and error by the second baseman allowed Reiser to score from second, and Freimuth advanced all the way to third to plate two more runs. Kujawa struck out and Gutknecht lined out to end the inning but not before MSU put three runs on the board with just two hits.
The Spartans got their fourth run in the bottom of the third, as Besson led off with a single through the left side. Ellie Stoffer reached on an error, sending pinch runner Dana Briggs to second. Nielsen sacrificed both runners up a base, and McBride walked to load the bases. Stephanie Sanders pinch hit for Reiser, and was promptly hit by a pitch to force a run home with just one out, but Luna struck out and Freimuth popped out to the shortstop to end the MSU threat.
MSU used all three pitchers in the first game, with freshman starter Valerie Kaff taking the loss. She pitched 3 2/3 innings, allowing four earned runs on six hits, striking out three and walking three.
In the day's second game, host South Carolina used a five-run fourth inning to run-rule MSU by a 9-0 margin. Nickie Blue scattered four hits over five innings to earn the win in the circle, while catcher Sarah Mooney had a three-run homer and both Ashlyn Masters and Kaylea Snaer had a pair of RBI.
MSU's hits against South Carolina came from freshmen Gutknecht and Besson, along with juniors Stephanie Sanders and McKinzie Freimuth. MSU left seven runners on base, at least one baserunner in each inning.
The hosts put three on the board in the bottom of the second. With a 1-0 lead, the Gamecocks took advantage of a hit batsman and a walk back-to-back, and Chelsea Hawkins singled to left to plate the first run. Three batters later, Masters jacked a double to left center to plate two more runs for a 4-0 lead.
In the fourth, Snaer laced a bases-loaded single through the left side to put two more USC runs on the board, and Mooney followed with her three-run homer to put the game out of reach for the Spartans.
Kelly Smith pitched all four innings for MSU, allowing six hits and all nine USC runs, all earned. She struck out one and walked three.
The Spartans finish up the tournament with a game against Georgetown at 12:30 on Sunday.