March 10, 2018
Box Score | PDF BOX: MSU 6, SDSU 5
Ebonee Echols hit a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to give MSU a 6-5 victory over San Diego State in the spring break finale for the Spartans.
MSU (10-11) had an early 4-1 lead in the game, but the Aztecs chipped away with two runs in the third and solo runs in the fifth and sixth innings to pull ahead by a 5-4 margin. MSU used three big hits - a Kelcey Carrasco double and Melanie Baccay triple in the sixth, and then the one-out solo shot by Ebonee Echols in the seventh to win the game.
The conditions caused some antics defensively for both teams, as a light drizzle made things interesting in the field. MSU committed three errors on the day, which led to just two earned runs for the pitching staff.
Freshman McKenna Gregory earned her first collegiate victory, throwing 1.2 innings in relief and allowing just one hit. Kristina Zalewski got the start in the circle, racking up nine strikeouts in 4.1 innings, scattering six base hits and walking two. Bridgette Rainey came on in the fifth and threw one inning, striking out two and walking two.
After the Aztecs scored a run in the top of the first, MSU countered with four of its own in the bottom of the frame, helped by three walks and an RBI single by Lexi White. With two runs in the third and single runs in the fifth and sixth, San Diego State took a 5-4 lead. MSU saved its biggest hits for the late innings, and came through with the walkoff win - the second of the trip.
MSU wraps up its pre-Big Ten schedule with three games at the Texas A&M Reveille Invitational next weekend, playing two games against the host Aggies and one against Marist College.
Zalewski struck out nine in 4.1 innings, scattering six base hits and walking two.
McKenna Gregory threw 1.2 innings in relief, allowing just one base hit
Ebonee Echols had the walkoff home run and scored twice.
"I thought this trip really gave us a nice long list of things to work on when we get back. We weren't able to play a couple of games, which was disappointing. Today was a high note to end on for sure - I liked our determination and poise in the late innings."
Head Coach Jacquie Joseph
STATS AND STORYLINES
Zalewski quickly got a pair of outs to start the game, but a fielding error and hit batter put two runners on. A single up the middle and another error allowed the Aztecs to plate a run, but Zalewski recorded her second strikeout of the inning to strand a pair of runners.
The Spartans looked to counter immediately in the bottom of the first. A leadoff walk to Caitie Ladd, a bunt single by McKenzie Long, and Lea Foerster being hit by a pitch loaded the bases with one out, and a pair of walks sandwiched around an RBI single by Lexi White increased the Spartan lead to 3-1. A sac fly to center by Joanna Bartz plated another run to make it 4-1 Spartans at the end of one.
The Aztecs cut into the lead in the top of the third. With one out, a single and a walk put a pair of runners on the basepaths, and a single up the left field line by Taylor Adams brought home both runners to make it a 4-3 ballgame. Zalewski got Taylor Stewart to fly out to center for the second out, then got Kiera Wright looking at a called third strike. to end the inning.
Lea Foerster led off the third with a double to the gap in right center, her eighth of the season. She ranks second in the Big Ten in that category.
Zalewski recorded another pair of strikeouts in the visitor half of the fourth, pushing her game total to eight through four innings.
In the top of the fifth, a one-out double for the Aztecs had the Spartans make a pitching change, going to Bridgette Rainey in the circle. Zalewski struck out nine in 4.1 innings, scattering six base hits and walking two, allowing just one earned run. Rainey walked her first batter and struck out her second for the second out of the inning, and then pinch hitter Shelby Thompson reached on an MSU error, allowing the tying run to score. With the bases loaded, Rainey enticed a popup out of Kayla Sok to end the inning.
In the top of the sixth, Rainey walked Katie Byrd, and the Spartans brought on freshman McKenna Gregory to pitch. She gave up a double to Molly Sturdivant that plated Byrd for the first Aztec lead since the first inning.
The Spartans looked to rally in the bottom of the sixth as Kelcey Carrasco smacked a one-out double into center. Melanie Baccay stroked a two-out triple into the gap in right center to bring Carassco home for a tie game.
Echols homer provided MSU its third walkoff win of the season and second of the week. MSU also has three walkoff losses this season. It was the first home run for Echols this season.