Spartans Fall to OSU in Doubleheader
Buckeyes open B1G-opening series.
March 22, 2014
East Lansing, Mich. - - Michigan State dropped both ends of a doubleheader on Saturday at Ohio State, as the Buckeyes rallied from a 7-1 deficit in game one to post a 11-7 victory, and manufactured a run in the fifth inning to break a 3-3 tie and take a 4-3 win in the nightcap. Ohio State swept the series, after taking both games today after a 13-6 victory in game one on Friday.
On the weekend, Destinee Luna snapped out of a 10-game hitless streak with four hits over the three games, hitting .400 and contributing a pair of RBI. Sarah Gutknecht and Carly Nielsen each had four RBI, while Shanin Thomas joined the pair as the trio each had a home run in the series.
The Spartans, who had their home opener on Tuesday against Western Michigan cancelled due to field conditions, will open next weekend against Purdue in a three-game set.
Ohio State 11, Michigan State 7 Box Score
The teams traded emotional six-run rallies in the first game of the day, as Ohio State came back from a 7-1 deficit to post an 11-7 win. The OSU bats were lively, recording 14 hits; six players finished with two hits on the day, as Caitlin Conrad led the way with five RBI. Luna went 3-for-4 with two RBI, while Carly Nielsen and Shanin Thomas each had a hit and pair of RBI. Kristina Zalewski pitched her first career complete game, going six innings and allowing just five earned runs.
OSU had taken a 1-0 lead in the second, as a bases-loaded single by Watkins brought in Prantl from third. MSU put together its big inning in the third, starting off with a leadoff single for Jacquie Reiser. Two batters later, Kujawa moved Reiser over to second on a groundout to second, at which point the floodgates opened for the Spartans. Hursh walked Gutknecht on four pitches, and an error by Conrad allowed both Reiser and Gutknecht to score as well as put Shanin Thomas on third base. Ellie Stoffer followed with a walk, and she proceeded to steak second to put a pair of runners in scoring position for Luna, who singled to right and pushed two more runs across.
After Luna advanced to third on a fielding error on the shortstop, Plant came in to pitch for Hursh, and she issued a four-ball walk to McBride to put runners on the corners. Carly Nielsen came to the plate and smacked the second pitch she saw to right field, giving her a two-RBI double and the Spartans a 6-1 lead Nielsen was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple, ending the Spartan rally.
In the top of the fourth, Kassidy Kujawa's RBI single extended MSU's lead to 7-1, and OSU began its comeback in the bottom of the inning. Jesse Machovina sent a 2-2 pitch into right center for a leadoff triple, and Zalewski walked Keelia Nester to bring leadoff hitter Caitlin Conrad to the plate. She singled up the middle to plate Machovina; then, Conrad and Nester each advanced on a wild pitch to put two runners in scoring position. Zalewski got Jayla Saibene on a comebacker for the first out of the inning, but Evelyn Carillo singled down the left field line to plate two and cut MSU's lead to 7-4. Erica Leonard came in as a pinch hitter and singled through the right side to move Carillo to second, but the rally ended with a Melaina Saalfeld fly out to right.
The Buckeyes cut into the lead again in the fifth to make it 7-5, as a one-out Conrad sacrifice fly plated Prantl from third; however, the home team exploded with its big inning in the sixth, blowing open the game to take a 11-7 lead. Saibene reached on an error to lead off the inning, and reached second on the throw. Carillo moved her over to third on a groundout, and Leonard got her home with a single up the middle Saalfield and Prantl recorded the second and third consecutive hits off of Zalewski, leaving the bases loaded for Machovina. She recorded a sacrifice fly to center that plated Leonard to tie the game at seven, and Nester followed with a single to allow OSU to reclaim the lead. Conrad punctuated the rally with a three-run homer to right to give the Buckeyes a four-run advantage.
O'Reilly came in to pitch the top of the seventh, and despite surrendering a one-out single to Luna, she retire the rest of the side to secure the second win of the series for the Buckeyes.
Ohio State 4, Michigan State 3 Box Score
In a stark contrast to the first two games of the series, the teams had to scratch and claw for offense in the final game of the three-game set, as the Buckeyes snapped a 3-3 tie with a RBI single in the fifth to sweep the series by virtue of a 4-3 victory in the final contest.
The game-winning run came in the fifth as Conrad led off with a single to right center, and was sacrificed over to second by Watkins. After Conrad moved to third on a wild pitch, Carillo singled to right center for the game-winner.
The scoring started early in the game, as both teams scored in their respective halves of the second inning. Ellie Stoffer walked to lead off the inning. After Luna struck out, McBride sacrificed Stoffer to second, bringing Carly Nielsen to the plate. The right fielder sent a 1-1 pitch over the fence in left field for her first career home run, which gave the Spartans a 2-0 lead. Jacquie Reiser walked, but Freimuth flied out to center to end the MSU threat.
The Buckeyes countered three runs in the bottom of the inning to take a 3-2 lead. After getting Carillo on a lineout, Smith hit Leonard and walked Saalfeld to put a pair of runners on base for Prantl. Prantl hammered the first pitch to center for a three-run homer, giving the Buckeyes the lead.
MSU tied the game in the next half-inning on a pinch-hit single by junior Stephanie Sanders. Alyssa McBride led off the third with a double down the left-field line, and advanced to third on a groundout by Nielsen. Sanders came up to the plate and delivered her sixth pinch hit of the season (6-for-9, .667), stroking a single to left to score Mc Bride.
After the Buckeyes scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the fifth, the Spartans couldn't manufacture any other runs, falling by the 4-3 score.
Smith went the distance for the Spartans, throwing six innings, scattering six hits and walking just one. It was the first time she has not recorded a strikeout when pitching at least three innings.