May 5, 2012
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State softball team dropped both games of a doubleheader to Northwestern on Saturday afternoon at Secchia Stadium. The Wildcats took game one in five innings, 15-1, and won the second game, 5-1.
In the opener, Northwestern (23-27, 10-10 Big Ten) jumped out to an early 2-0 lead with two runs in the top of the first before breaking the game open with six runs on five hits in the second.
The Wildcats added five more runs in the third, led by Amy Letourneau's grand slam to center field.
Michigan State (11-38, 0-19) got on the board in the bottom half of the third. Alyssa McBride walked to lead off the inning, stole second, and advanced to third on a Kylene Hopkins single up the middle. A groundout to first from Lori Padilla then brought McBride home to score. Padilla also had a bunt single in the first inning.
Northwestern added to its lead with two runs in the fifth, and the game ended after five innings with the Wildcats in front, 15-1.
Cassee Layne took the loss after allowing seven runs, four earned, on six hits in 1 2/3 innings, while Sammy Albanese pitched all five innings to record the win.
In the second game, NU scored an unearned run in the first to take a quick 1-0 advantage.
The Spartans threatened to score in the bottom of the second after two walks and a wild pitch placed runners on first and third with two outs, but a lineout to third ended the inning.
Northwestern pushed its lead to 3-0 in the third on RBI hits from Emily Allard and Adrienne Monka.
Spartan starter Carly Nielson kept the Wildcats off the scoreboard for the next two innings, but Monka hit a two-run homer to center field in the sixth to make it 5-0. Monka, a two-time All-American, went 5-for-6 with seven RBIs on the day.
Michigan State placed runners in scoring position in the fifth and sixth innings, but couldn't convert on its scoring opportunities.
In the bottom of the seventh, McKinzie Freimuth led off with a single to right field and came around to score with two outs as Hopkins came through with a double to left field. Hopkins led MSU at the plate with three hits on the day and improved her batting average to a team-best .404.
Letourneau struck out five and pitched a complete game for the Wildcats in the nightcap to pick up her 10th win of the season; Nielson threw five-plus innings and gave up five runs on five hits in the loss.
The third and final game of the series is set for Sunday at 1 p.m.