April 9, 2014
Bloomington, Ind. - Michigan State split at Indiana on Wednesday, as the Spartans got an outstanding performance from freshman Valerie Kaff in the opening contest, a seven-hit effort in a 5-2 win. The Hoosiers countered with a career night for pitcher Meaghan Murphy in the nightcap, as she pitched a complete game and recorded a season-high 13 strikeouts in a 7-3 Hoosier victory.
Stephanie Sanders and Lindsey Besson each had three hits for MSU (9-25, 2-9 B1G) on the day; Sanders smacked a two-run homer in the second game, her first round-tripper of the season. Besson went 3-for-5, which included a two-run double that secured a victory for the Spartans in the opener.
"I thought we played very well in game one," said head coach Jacquie Joseph. "We did the things you need to do to have success in any game you play - we had solid pitching, played well defensively, and had timely hitting.
"I thought in game two, the story was how effective [Meaghan] Murphey was," continued Joseph. "I thought, though, that we failed to make any adjustments at the plate. We played well defensively and did compete at the plate, but you can't strike out 13 times as a team and expect to win the game. We are just trying to get better and put consistent performances together. We had a good game and a not-so good game, so we are just looking for some consistency heading into the weekend."
MSU has a day to prepare for a three-game series with archrival Michigan. The teams face off on Friday at 6 p.m. in Ann Arbor, then will play the final two games of the series at Secchia Stadium on Saturday (1 p.m.) and Sunday (noon).
Michigan State 5, Indiana 2
Michigan State took the first game of the doubleheader with a 5-2 win over Indiana. The Hoosiers loaded the bases in the ninth, but freshman Valerie Kaff recorded her only strikeout of the contest to end the game and leave the tying and possible go-ahead runs on base.
Freshman Lindsey Besson scored the go-ahead run in the sixth and knocked in two in the seventh, while Kaff earned her fifth win of the season, pitching seven innings and scattering seven hits.
MSU jumped out to an early lead in the top of the first. All of the damage came with two outs, highlighted by back-to-back doubles from Sarah Gutknecht and Kassidy Kujawa. Stephanie Sanders then lined a ball just fair down the third base line to bring home Kujawa and give MSU the 2-0 advantage.
Michigan State is now 6-2 this season when scoring in the first inning.
Indiana cut the lead to 2-1 in the bottom of the third. With a runner on first, Brianna Meyer singled down the left field line that was misplayed, sending it to the fence and allowing the runner to score.
The Hoosiers used small ball in the fourth to tie up the game. After a single and sac bunt, a single brought home the tying run. Erin Lehman then hit a hard hit ball into center that would have put the Hoosiers on top, but centefielder Alyssa McBride made a great play to corral the ball to end the inning and strand the runner.
MSU regained the lead for good in the sixth. After the first two batters reached base to start the inning, Ellie Stoffer that came up with a big pinch-hit single up the middle, giving the Spartans a 3-2 lead.
MSU tacked on two insurance runs in the top of the seventh that proved to be crucial. McBride got the inning started with a leadoff single. With two outs, Sanders had a hard-h it ball that bounced off the shortstop and into the outfield, keeping the inning alive. Besson then sent a bloop single between the shortstop and centerfielder that barely dropped in, scoring two and giving the Spartans some breathing room heading into the final half- inning.
Kaff allowed two hits and hit a batter in the final frame, leaving the bases loaded for cleanup hitter Kelsey Dotson, but Kaff struck her out swinging - her first strikeout of the game - to leave three Hoosiers on base and secure the win..
MSU tied its season-high with 11 hits.
Indiana 7, MSU 3 Box Score
MSU fell, 7-3, in the nightcap to the Hoosiers, who got a career-best 13 strikeouts and a complete game from starting pitcher Meaghan Murphy. Besson had two of her three hits on the day in the second game, while Sanders hit her home run to account for two of MSU's three runs.
Indiana jumped out early by putting up five runs in the first two innings, and that would be all Murphy would need, as she allowed just one hit through the first five frames.
Jenna Abraham gave the Hoosiers an early jump when she hit a two-run homer off the left field foul pole in the bottom of the first. Indiana added three more in the second, starting with single that just got over the outstretched arm of a diving Jacquie Reiser which scored two. Huber followed with an RBI double to left center, extending the Hoosier lead to 5-0 early in the game.
Indiana left the door open for the Spartans with two errors early in the third that put Destinee Luna and Reiser on base, and despite the Hoosiers intentionally walking Gutknecht to load the bases, Murphy got Kujawa swinging to end the inning and get out of the jam unscathed.
Indiana then hit its second homer of the game, a two-run shot from Dotson over the left field wall, in the fifth to go ahead 7-0.
MSU showed some signs of life late in the game and put up three runs in the sixth to close the gap to 7-3. Stephanie Sanders hit a two-run homer that put the Spartans on the board. It was her first home run of the season and seventh of her career. Besson followed with a double to right; two batters later, pinch hitter Carly Neilson got an infield single that brought home Besson to make it a 7-3 game. That would be as close as the Spartans would get, as Murphey sent down the Spartans in order in the seventh.