May 1, 2011
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - The Michigan State softball team (23-23, 4-10 Big Ten) used a powerful fifth inning to salvage a series split with Minnesota on Sunday, May 1 in Minneapolis. With the game on national television, the Spartans did not disappoint as they run ruled the Golden Gophers in five innings, 12-2.
Junior Ali Grant led off the first inning for the Green and White with a double to right center. After Grant advanced to third off a grounder by classmate Lori Padilla, the Spartans found themselves in a first and third situation as senior Lindsey Hansen was intentionally walked. Hansen moved up to second with a stolen base, and proceeded to third on a wild throw, which also allowed Grant to score home on the play for the first run of the game.
The Spartans tacked on two additional runs in the top of the fourth to give them a 3-0 lead. With sophomore Kylene Hopkins on third and senior Karen Fox on first, Grant put the ball into right field for a bases-clearing double.
MSU's most productive inning of the game occurred in the fifth inning with a nine run frame. Junior Melanie Bensema drove in the first three runs in juniors Brett Williams and Lauren Kramer, and Hansen. Bensema doubled, with the ball going into right on the play. Bensema wound up scoring two batters later off a wild pitch for the fifth run. Fox advanced her to third following a wild pitch, however an error by the catcher allowed her to score on the play, as well as Hopkins to give the Spartans a 9-0 lead.
Padilla singled in the seventh run of the fifth inning with a shot to left field to score home Grant. The final two runs of the inning occurred with Kramer blasting a home run to right field to also bring home Padilla from first.
Freshman Cassee Layne kept Minnesota off the board until the bottom of the fifth inning. The Golden Gophers, trailing 12-0, tallied two runs in the last inning to make the score 12-2. Barnes singled to left field with the bases loaded to bring in Allie Siu from third. Dannie Skrove drove home the second and final run with an infield single, scoring Aubrey Davis on the play.
Layne pitched the Spartans to a complete game, allowing two earned runs on six hits. The 5.0 innings affair improved Layne's overall record to 11-13 on the season.
Sara Moulton took the loss for Minnesota, dropping to 25-13 overall. In 4.0 innings of work, Moulton allowed seven runs on seven hits, while strikeout four and walking five. Alissa Koch pitched the final inning for the Golden Gophers and allowed five earned runs on two hits.
MSU returns home for its final two non-conference contests on Wednesday, May 4 and Thursday, May 5. The Spartans will first battle Western Michigan at 5 p.m., in a game which was originally scheduled to be played on Wednesday, March 30, but was postponed due to unsafe field conditions. The Green and White will then face Eastern Michigan on Thursday at 4 p.m. Both games will be contested inside Secchia Stadium in East Lansing.