March 15, 2014
East Lansing, Mich. - - Michigan State split its two games in the first day of the Hoosier Classic at Indiana, bouncing back from a 4-3 loss to Illinois-Chicago in the first game to earn a 6-5 win (10 innings) over Toledo in the nightcap. Freshman Sarah Gutknecht went 3-for-9 with two RBI, contributing both a double and a home run on the day. Senior Sarah Bowling had a pair of hits on the day as well. MSU is now 7-15, and will play Wright State on Sunday to wrap up the tournament.
Illinois-Chicago 4, Michigan State 3
Illinois-Chicago used a three-run fifth inning to rally from a 3-0 deficit to down the Spartans, 4-3, in MSU's first game of the day. Freshman Sarah Gutknecht hit her third home run of the season, but two Flames pitchers scattered five hits and limited MSU only to the three runs it scored in the top of the fourth inning. Kelly Smith took the loss for MSU, falling to 2-6 in her two innings of work. Jacqui Fletcher smacked an RBI double to plate the game's final two runs for UIC in the bottom of the fifth.
Michigan State opened the scoring in the top of the fourth, when Gutknecht led off with her team-best third home run of the year to get the Spartans on the board. Lindsey Besson followed with a single to right, and she advanced to second on a walk to Shanin Thomas. That brought Carly Nielsen to the plate, and singled to center. The center fielder bobbled it, allowing Besson to score and putting runners at second and third for Ellie Stoffer. Stoffer got Thomas home from third on a sacrifice fly for the first out of the inning. Sarah Bowling reached on an error by the Flames' third baseman Jenna Marsalli, which put runners on the corners. That chased starting pitcher Bridget Boyle, as the Flames brought in Alice Fitzpatrick to pitch to Jacquie Reiser. Bowling stole second before Reiser popped out to first on a bunt attempt, leaving Destinee Luna to the plate with two runners in scoring position. Luna flied out to end the inning, but MSU held a 3-0 lead.
A leadoff double by Laura Swan led off the bottom of the fourth for UIC. Two batters later, Rachel May hit a sacrifice fly to center to plate pinch runner Savannah Soppett, allowing the Flames to cut the Spartan lead to 3-1. Kaff struck out Dana Capocci swinging to end the inning and the UIC threat, getting out of the inning with a two-run advantage.
Kelly Smith came in for the Spartans after Kaff allowed a leadoff single in the top of the fifth, and the Flames greeted her with back-to-back bunt singles. Fletcher followed with her double to left center to push two runs across and knot the game at 3-3; Smith got Marsalli to pop out to first, but a sacrifice fly to center by Swan allowed Paige Peterson to score and give the Flames their first lead of the day, 4-3. Smith then got Hampton looking on three pitches, ending the inning for UIC and sending the teams to the sixth.
MSU went down in three batters in the top of the sixth. After a two-out single by Bowling, the senior was picked off at first to end the Spartan half of the inning. Smith came back to the circle and struck out the first two UIC batters, then pinch hitter Kelly Kennedy fought through an 11-pitch at-bat to earn a walk, but Smith got her fourth strikeout when she got Natalie Hernandez swinging.
The Spartans came to the plate in the top of the seventh for their final shot, but couldn't get anything going, despite Luna getting hit by a pitch and MSU having a baserunner.
The Spartans were limited to three runs on five hits with an error, while the Flames scored four runs on seven hits and committed four errors. Fitzpatrick picked up the win, going 3.2 innings and surrendering just one run, striking out one. Smith took the loss for MSU, allowing three hits and striking out four.
Michigan State 6, Toledo 5 (10 inn.)
Freshman pitcher Kristina Zalewski pitched three relief innings to pick up her second victory of the season as MSU outlasted Toledo, 6-5, in 10 innings in the second Spartan game of the day. Sarah Gutknecht and Stephanie Sanders both had a pair of hits for MSU, which scored its winning run in the bottom of the 10th when Toledo reliever Emily Anderson walked in the winning run. It was MSU's first victory in five extra-inning games this season.
Tied 3-3 at the end of seven innings, each team scored in both the eighth and ninth innings. Zalewski shut out the Rockets in the top of the 10th, and a bases-loaded one-out walk to Sarah Bowling plated Carly Nielsen to give MSU the win. Zalewski improves to 2-2, allowing one hit in three innings of relief Kelly Smith started and went a full seven innings, scattering 10 hits and striking out four.
Toledo took a 1-0 lead after the top of the second. Leadoff hitter Chandler Rice reached on an error, and advanced to third two batters later when Leigh Nebendahl singled to center. Rice crossed the plate on a fielder's choice, and then Smith loaded the bases when she walked Sammy Emery. Smith got out of the jam by getting Alyssa Smith to ground out to short, limiting the damage to a single run.
MSU scored single runs in the bottom of the third, fourth, and fifth innings. In the third, a leadoff single by Sarah Bowling and double by Sarah Gutknecht got MSU on the board. In the fourth, Shanin Thomas hit a one-out double into center, and she scored on a single by Alyssa McBride. In the fifth, Jacquie Reiser drew a leadoff walk, advanced on a single by Gutknecht, and scored on a Stephanie Sanders base hit.
With the Spartans leading 3-1, Toledo scored twice in the top of the sixth to tie the game. Emery laced a one-out single through the right side to give the Rockets a baserunner, and advanced to second when Jessica Lemieux followed with a base hit of her own. Pinch hitter Celeste Fidge came to the plate and came up with Toledo's third straight hit to load the bases, and Erinn Wright followed with the fourth hit of the inning to knot the game.
MSU stranded two runners in the bottom of the seventh, leaving the game tied at three and the teams went to extra innings. With Smith already having thrown nine innings on the day, Zalewski entered the circle in relief for MSU. Emery's sacrifice bunt moved the runner from second to third, and Lemieux reached base on an error by Reiser to score Allissa Turkovich and give the Rockets a lead. MSU got the run back in the bottom of the eighth, as Luna bunted Thomas over to third to lead off the inning, and McBride hit the sacrifice fly to plate Thomas to send the game into the ninth.
The Spartans made a nice heads-up play in the top of the eighth, as Luna gunned down Lani Ernst at the plate on a fielder's choice by Rice, but pinch hitter Jen Behunin stepped in next and smacked a double to right to score Rice and allow the Rockets to once again take the lead. MSU again knotted the score in the bottom of the frame, as Sanders laced her second hit of the game to score Bowling and knot the score again at five-all.
Zalewski came in and shut down Toledo in the top of the 10th, getting both Turkovich and Lemieux to pop out and Emery reached on a fielder's choice. With Nielsen placed on second, Thomas struck out to lead off the inning for MSU, but Luna reached on an error by Rice at second base; this allowed Nielsen and Luna to each advance a base to put runners at second and third for McBride. The center fielder was intentionally walked to load the bases, bringing Bowling to the plate. The senior worked to a full count, fouled off the next pitch, and walked on the seventh pitch she faced to plate Nielsen and give MSU the win.