March 8, 2014
East Lansing, Mich. - - Michigan State split its two games in the final action of its spring break trip at the Florida Atlantic Tournament, downing Hofstra, 1-0 in the opening game before falling to Virginia Tech, 9-1, in five innings in the second contest. MSU is now 6-14 on the season, and will turn its attention to the Indiana Tournament next weekend in Bloomington.
MSU allowed one big inning to Virginia Tech - in which the Hokies sent 11 batters to the plate and compiled seven hits - but otherwise had gotten strong performances from its pitching staff on the weekend. Kristina Zalewski earned her first two collegiate starts and threw 12 innings over two days, while Kelly Smith threw five innings (allowing no runs) and Valerie Kaff went 10 innings over two games.
Kassidy Kujawa had the game-winning RBI in the first game and had three hits on the day - all doubles - to go with a pair of hits in Saturday's games.
MSU went 1-3 in the FAU Tournament, falling on Friday in a last at-bat to Hofstra (2-1) and 4-2 to the host team in an extra-inning nightcap.
Michigan State 1, Hofstra 0
After a week of close calls and last-minute heartbreak, Michigan State got a combined four-hitter from freshman Kristina Zalewski and senior Kelly Smith and recorded MSU's second shutout of the season, blanking Hofstra 1-0. The Pride, which was just outside the NFCA Top 25 this week, fell to 9-2 on the season. Freshman Kassidy Kujawa's RBI double in the bottom of the third inning turned out to be all the Spartans would need, as MSU snapped a five-game skid that had been filled with extra-inning and last-at-bat heartbreak.
Zalewski, who went eight innings in a 4-2 extra-inning loss to host Florida Atlantic on Friday, earned her second consecutive start, and scattered three hits over her four innings of work on Saturday morning against the Pride. Smith entered for Zalewski in the fifth, and surrendered just one hit while striking out four.
Hofstra came out swinging right away, as Rachel Senatore and Chloe Fitzgerald put together back-to-back singles to give the Pride two on with none out. Zalewski settled in and got Maggie Hawkins swinging before Erin Trippi reached on an infield single, loading the bases. Zalewski got Caryn Bailey swinging for the second out of the inning, and Becca Bigler popped out to third, and Shanin Thomas caught the ball in foul territory to leave the bases full and get out of the top of the first unscathed.
MSU countered with a threat of its own in the bottom of the inning. Kujawa reached on an error by the shortstop with one out in the bottom half of the first, and was moved over to second when Gutknecht grounded out. Lindsey Besson then singled up the middle to advance Kujawa. Besson was caught stealing on an attempt at second, sending the teams on to the second inning.
After Zalewski retired the Pride in order in the top of the inning, Carly Nielsen reached base with a one-out single through the left side. Stephanie Sanders was hit by a pitch to give MSU two runners with one out for pinch hitter Sarah Bowling; Bowling struck out and Nielsen was nabbed trying to steal third on the play, extinguishing an attempt at an MSU rally.
Zalewski, who made her first career start on Friday, worked herself out of a jam in the top of the third. After surrendering a one-out single to Fitzgerald, Hawkins reached on an error by Luna. Erin Trippi reached on a fielder's choice, as Fitzgerald was forced out at third, leaving two on for Zalewski got her to fly out to center, preserving the zero on the scoreboard.
MSU got the first run of the game in the bottom of the third. Luna drew a leadoff walk, and was sacrificed to second by Alyssa McBride. Kassidy Kujawa, who broke out of an 0-for-17 slump on Friday with a pair of hits, laced a double to center to score Luna and pick up the RBI. Gutknecht recorded the second out of the inning when she grounded out to third, and Besson reached on an error by Bigler- the Pride shortstop's second of the game - to put runners at the corners for Thomas. She grounded out to end the inning, stranding two - but MSU had its first lead of the day.
Hofstra brought in their ace Morgan Lashley to throw in the bottom of the fourth; For the Spartans, Kelly Smith entered in the top of the fifth inning for Zalewski, Both were able to keep their opponents off the scoreboard through their first two innings of work, with Lashley surrendering two walks to MSU in the fifth and Smith surrendering a two-out single in the top of the sixth. Lashley struck out the side in the bottom of the sixth - two swinging, one looking - to keep MSU from adding an insurance run. Smith entered the circle with a chance to close it out, and struck out Tori Rocha for the first out of the inning. After she got pinch hitter MIchaela Transue to fly out to right , she issued a one-out walk to Kim Smith, she got leadoff hitter Senatore to fly out to right to seal the 1-0 victory.
Virginia Tech 9, Michigan State 1 (5)
Hot Virginia Tech bats came alive with six hits and seven runs in the third inning, sending the Spartans to a 9-1 loss in five innings to the Hokies in their final game of the FAU Invitational. Kassidy Kujawa continued her hot streak, going 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles to lead the offense, but MSU could not overcome the big inning by VaTech.
MSU had six hits - the third-most of any game on this spring break trip - and had cut the Hokies' lead to 2-1 in the top half of the third before VaTech's offensive explosion.
In the first, Valerie McGoldrick drew a leadoff walk. Kaff got Lauren Gaskill looking, but Vanessa Gonzales tripled down the right field line to plate McGoldrick for the first run of the game. Katey Smith reached base on a fielder's choice, as Gonzales scored for the second run of the game. Amanda Ake grounded out for the second out of the inning, but after a walk to Logan Spaw, Kaff struck out Bailey LIddle to strand two Hokie runners.
MSU cut into the lead in the top of the third. Jacquie Reiser led off the inning with a single, and Destinee Luna reached on a fielder's choice. Alyssa McBride followed with a single to put runners on first and second; after Kassidy Kujawa popped out, Sarah Gutknecht delivered a single up the middle to plate Luna for MSU's first run of the game. Besson popped out in foul territory to left to end the inning, but MSU got a run across and cut the Hokie lead to 2-1.
Virginia Tech countered with a half-inning that included seven runs on six hits as the Hokies sent nine batters to the plate, and all three MSU pitchers. A leadoff walk led to a two-run homer for Smith, at which point Zalewski came in for Kaff. Ake and Spaw put up back-to-back singles, and Liddle reached on an error to score both runners. McNamara (double) and and Wolf (single) chased Zalewski in favor of Kelly Smith; Zalewski had surrendered five additional runs without recording an out. After McGoldrick, Smith's first batter, reached on a single, the Spartans senior got Gaskill on a fly ball to center, got Gonzales to fly out to left, and finally, Katey Smith to ground out to second to end the inning.
In the fourth, both teams sent four batters to the plate. MSU got a single from Carly Nielsen, but pitcher Maggie Tyler got a pair of strikeouts and a flyout to get out of the inning. Smith surrendered a two-out single to LIddle in the bottom of the inning, but didn't allow a runner past first in blanking the Hokies.
In the top of the fifth, MSU needed to generate something to keep the game going. Luna struck out swinging for the first out, and McBride grounded out to third. Kujawa did her part by lacing a double up the middle to keep the inning going; Ellie Stoffer came up as a pinch hitter for Gutknecht, but struck out to end the inning and the game.
Kaff took the loss, while Tyler went five innings, scattering six hits and allowing the lone Spartan run.