Weigle's Walk-Off Homer Propels Spartans Past Wisconsin
May 3, 2009
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State softball team closed out a two-game series with Wisconsin Sunday afternoon at Old College Field, posting a 5-3 win. Senior Kara Weigle notched a walk-off home run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh and the winning run on third to give the Spartans the victory and split the series with the Badgers. Sophomore Lindsey Hansen and classmate Karen Fox also led MSU, with both going 2-for-3 at the plate.
With a 3-2 lead in the seventh inning, Wisconsin looked to widen the lead. After Alexis Garcia singled to right field, Valyncia Raphael rounded the bases from first but was called out at home when Weigle tagged her to ended the inning.
Fox started the Spartan rally with a single off a bunt in the bottom of the seventh. The next two Spartans flied out to shallow right field to make the outcome look grim. Hansen then doubled down the right-field line and advanced to third on the throw, while Fox scored to tie the game 3-3. With Hansen on third, Weigle hit a high ball to deep right field, over the fence to score two runs for the win.
Wisconsin started the game strong, scoring one run on three hits. The Badgers had three runners on base with one out when junior Kelly Confer replaced starting pitcher Lauren Kramer to record the final two outs and strand the runners.
MSU responded in the bottom of the inning, scoring two runs on four hits to take a 2-1 lead. Sophomore Jessica Bracamonte, the Spartan leadoff batter, hit a high ball that dropped just behind first base for a single. Bracamonte advanced to second on a passed ball, Hansen hit a double to right center and went to third on the throw, while Bracamonte scored to tie the game, 1-1. Hansen then scored off a wild pitch to take the lead. Weigle and Confer continued the inning with two hits to put both on second and third, but a double play ended the inning.
Kramer returned to the circle in the second, retiring three straight batters. MSU looked to add to its lead in the bottom of the second when Fox ripped a triple to the right-center gap, marking the first triple of her career. Fox attempted to steal home during Bracamonte's at-bat, but was caught in a run down.
The hits continued for the Spartans in the third inning. Senior Gina Mondo opened with a hit down the left-field line and advanced a base when the left fielder misplayed the ball. Hansen started her at-bat with a 0-2 count, but ended up drawing a walk to put two on base. A fielder's choice put Weigle on first, while forcing Mondo out at third, and a wild pitch advanced both runners. Confer then walked to load the bases, but another fielder's choice caught Hansen out at home and a strikeout ended the inning with three on.
Wisconsin opened the fourth with a single, and a sacrifice bunt advanced the runner to second before Confer re-entered the circle for MSU and retired the next two batters, including a strikeout to end the inning.
The Badgers took advantage in the fifth inning off two errors, scoring two runs to reclaim the lead at 3-2.
Both teams remained scoreless in the sixth to set up Weigle's heroics.
Kramer struck out two batters through three innings work, while Confer posted one in 1 2-3 innings. Senior Megan Hair pitched the final 2 1-3 innings, allowing just one hit for her sixth win of the season.
Michigan State concludes the 2009 season with a home-and-home series against in-state rival Michigan. The Spartans travel to Ann Arbor on Friday, May 8 for a 6 p.m. game with the Wolverines before returning to East Lansing on Saturday, May 9 for a 1 p.m. game at Old College Field.
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