April 24, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The Michigan State softball squad faced Notre Dame in a mid-week nonconference matchup on Tuesday (April 24) in Notre Dame, Ind. A third inning setback allowed the Fighting Irish to claim a 7-1 victory over the Spartans.
Notre Dame took an early lead, scoring one run in the bottom of the first inning. Back-to-back singles and a sacrifice bunt put runners on second and third and the bases loaded when Amy Buntin was intentionally walked. A ground out by Dani Miller gave the runner on third enough time to cross home plate and score the first run of the game.
The next inning went scoreless, but the Spartans made it a tie game with one run in the third. Senior Ali Grant started off the offense with a double down the left field line and a sacrifice bunt by freshman Alyssa McBride moved Grant to third. A triple to right center by junior Kylene Hopkins brought Grant home to make the score 1-1. It was Hopkins' second triple of the year and 20th RBI.
The Fighting Irish took control of the matchup in the next half-inning, posting six runs. Four runs came off a pair of two-run homers and another runner crossed home plate with a triple from Jenna Simon. A throwing error by MSU allowed Notre Dame to score their seventh run.
Freshman Carly Nielsen began in the circle for MSU and threw for 2.1 innings. The right-hander struck out two batters but was given the loss after allowing five runs to the Fighting Irish. Junior Shelby Wise relieved Nielsen in the third and gave up two more runs. Sophomore Cassee Layne also entered the game in the third inning and was in the circle for the remainder of the outing. Layne tabbed one K and only gave up one hit, keeping Notre Dame scoreless for 3.2 innings of work.
Grant led MSU at the plate against the Fighting Irish. The right-fielder notched two hits in three at-bats, including a double and a single, and scored the only run for the Spartans.
Michigan State will stay on the road when they head to Lincoln, Neb. to face the Cornhuskers. The Spartans and Nebraska will meet for the first time as Big Ten foes in a double-header on Saturday (April 28) at 2 p.m. ET and 4 p.m. The series concludes on Sunday (April 29) at 2 p.m. and will be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network.