Softball Celebrates Senior Day
May 12, 2012
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State softball team finished the 2012 campaign with a doubleheader against Indiana on Saturday (May 12). Representative of the season, the Spartans fought until the very end, but the coin didn't flip their way as they fell to Indiana 6-5 in both outings.
MSU went behind by two in the first inning of Senior Day as the Hoosiers manufactured two runs to start the game. The Spartans held Indiana scoreless for the next three innings and then cut the deficit by one with a run in the bottom of the fourth. Senior Ali Grant led off the inning and got on first when she was hit by a pitch and reached second off a sacrifice bunt by freshman McKinzie Freimuth. Next up was redshirt freshman Stephanie Sanders, who brought Grant home with a double to right field.
Indiana got on the board again with one run in the fifth, but Michigan State tied it up with two runs in the next half inning. Junior Kylene Hopkins got the offense going in the fifth with a single to third base and then senior Lori Padilla earned an RBI with her first triple of the year. The bases loaded when junior Jayme O'Bryant was walked and Grant was walked intentionally and then Padilla crossed home plate as Freimuth was hit by a pitch.
The Hoosiers regained the lead with two runs in the top of the sixth, but MSU tied it up once more with back-to-back one-run innings. In the bottom of the sixth, freshman Alyssa McBride reached first base off an error by the IU first basemen and then an RBI double by Hopkins brought her home. Freimuth led off in the bottom of the seventh with a single up the middle and a ground out by senior Brett Williams allowed her to reach second. In the next at-bat, senior Melanie Bensema tabbed an RBI and sent the game into extra innings with a single to right field.
Indiana scored a run in the eighth inning of the game and the Spartans couldn't retaliate, losing to a final score of 6-5.
The offensive statistics were spread among the batting order as three Spartans tabbed two hits and four more notched one each. Hopkins, Padilla and O'Bryant recorded two hits apiece while Hopkins and Padilla also each earned one RBI.
Senior Rebecca Rogers started in the circle for MSU but was relieved by freshman Carly Nielsen in the second inning. Nielsen threw for the next seven innings, only allowing one earned run and striking out three Hoosiers.
IU took an early lead again with one run in the second inning of the second game, but Michigan State responded with a run in both the second and in the third innings. O'Bryant kicked off the offense with a double to right field and then moved to third with a sacrifice bunt from freshman Ellie Stoffer. Freshman Kelsey Cleary stepped in to pinch run for O'Bryant and scored MSU's first run of the game when Freimuth singled to left field. Leading off in the third inning was Grant, who singled up the middle, stole second and then advanced to third when Padilla ground out. Hopkins followed behind Padilla with an RBI single into left field, giving the Spartans a 2-1 advantage.
The game broke open when Indiana scored four runs in the next half inning and another in the fifth, but Michigan State didn't give up as they came within one in the last two innings of play. The Spartans got some life when Stoffer knocked her first career homer out of the park into center field. O'Bryant was on second base due to a walk and a wild pitch, giving Stoffer two RBI off the longball and narrowing the gap to two.
Michigan State threatened again in the bottom of the seventh inning with one run, but it wasn't enough to push the game into extra innings. Williams singled to left field to start the inning and then another single by Grant put runners on first and second. A fielder's choice forced Williams out at third, but a single by Hopkins gave Grant enough time to round third and come home.
Leading the offense in the second game of the doubleheader was Grant, who scored two runs off two hits in four at-bats. Hopkins also tabbed two RBIs on two hits while O'Byrant, Stoffer, Freimuth and Williams each had one hit.
The pitching responsibilities for the Spartans were split between sophomore Cassee Layne and Nielsen. Both pitchers allowed three earned runs, but Layne was given the loss as she put the winning runner on base. The sophomore was in the circle for a combined 4.2 innings, striking out three batters and giving up four hits. Nielsen threw for 2.1 innings and earned two Ks.
The Spartans will return to action next spring, returning eight starters in the Green and White.
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