Spartans Fall to Huskers on Senior Day
April 27, 2014
East Lansing, Mich. - - The bats came alive for No. 19 Nebraska on Sunday afternoon at Secchia Stadium, as the Huskers put together a 14-hit performance in a 8-0 (six-inning) win over host Michigan State.
The MSU (12-33, 4-16) pitchers had contained the potent Husker offense fairly well over the first 12 innings of the series, as Valerie Kaff limited Nebraska (36-13, 14-4 B1G) to five hits in a 2-0 loss on Friday, and Kelly Smith was lights-out for the first five innings of Saturday's game before Nebraska rallied in the sixth inning for a 6-0 victory. Today, however, Nebraska scored in each inning but the second, consistently getting on base and advancing runners. Smith threw the first two innings and left trailing 1-0, and Kaff pitched the remainder of the game.
Tatum Edwards threw her second complete game of the series, limiting MSU to just two hits by Bowling and McKinzie Freimuth. She owns a 1.86 ERA on the season, and improved to 19-9 in the circle.
The five Spartan seniors - Sarah Bowling, Dana Briggs, Emma Fernandez, Smith, and four-year student manager Bryan Rourke - were honored in a pre-game ceremony. Each senior got into Sunday's game; Bowling came up with MSU's first hit of the day
Hailey Decker hit a one-out homer to left in the top of the first to put the Huskers on the board after the first half-inning. In the bottom of the frame, Alyssa McBride drew a one-out walk, an Sarah Gutknecht struck out, but the wild pitch allowed her to reach first and McBride to advance to second. Sanders hit a little blooper that shortstop Alicia Armstrong snagged with a nice catch, ending the MSU threat.
Smith got the first two batters in the second, including Kassidy Kujawa running a long way into foul territory to corral a Kat Woolman. Kiki Stokes lined a single into center to reach base, then stole second to put a runner in scoring position, but Sarah Gutknecht flashed the leather at third to rob Dawna Tyson of a base hit to end the inning.
Valerie Kaff came in to replace Smith in the top of the third, and Taylor Edwards welcomed her to the game with a single past the glove of a diving Jacquie Reiser. Decker followed with a single through the left side, and Tatum Edwards launched an 0-1 pitch over the wall in center field to turn it into a 4-0 Nebraska lead, all with no outs. Kaff got the next three batters on a strikeout, flyout, and groundout to get out of the inning.
Bowling led off the bottom of the third with a little bloop single to shallow left, MSU's first hit of the day - but she was stranded at second as MSU couldn't generate the offense to get her across. The Huskers added to their lead in the top of the fourth, as Stokes stroked a single back up the middle for her second hit of the day, stole second, and was brought in by a two-out single by Taylor Edwards. Kaff walked Decker - the sophomore already had a pair of hits on the day - to put runners at first and second for Tatum Edwards, but she popped out to Stoffer in foul territory to get MSU out of the inning.
MSU left the bases loaded in the fifth. Carly Nielsen led off with a pinch-hit single, and Fernandez reached on a fielder's choice. Shanin Thomas came in as a pinch hitter after Bowling went down on a strikeout, and walked to put runners on first and second for McKinzie Freimuth. The first baseman came up with a single to load the bases, but the third pinch hitter of the day, Lindsey Besson, struck out to end the MSU threat.
Doubles by Armstrong (to center) and Woolman (down the left-field line) plated Nebraska's sixth run in the top of the fifth; in the sixth, an RBI double by pinch hitter Austen Urness and a single up the left side by MJ Knighten pushed Nebraska's lead to 8-0. The Spartans weren't able to generate anything in the bottom of the frame, allowing the Huskers to end the game after six innings.
The Spartans turn their attention to exam break, and will play again next weekend at No. 25 Northwestern.
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