Spartans Fall to Northwestern In B1G Semifinals
NU Hurler Newport Tosses No-Hitter
Michigan State's 2018 season came to an end with a 11-0 loss (five innings) to Northwestern in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament in Madison, Wis. Morgan Newport tossed a five-inning no-hitter, the first of her career and the second all-time in Big Ten Tournament history.
The Spartans (26-26) lost for just the second time in their final 12 games, but were blitzed by the potent offense of Northwestern, which scored two runs in the first and added eight in the second inning as MSU went through three pitchers in the frame. The game was delayed by two and a half hours due to weather issues, starting at 5:50 pm ET.
McKenna Gregory went 3.1 innings in relief, scattering four hits and striking out one and allowing one earned run. Kristina Zalewski (15-11) was the starter and lasted 1.1 inningss before being drilled in the leg with a comebacker, but allowed five runs (four earned) and striking out two. Bridgette Rainey allowed four hits and five runs before making way for Gregory with two out in the second.
Sabrina Rabin went 3-for-4 for the Wildcats while Sammy Nettling was 1-for-2 with four RBI.
The Spartans lose six seniors to graduation: in addition to senior pitchers Kristina Zalewski and Bridgette Rainey, MSU also graduates two of its top three hitters in Lea Foerster and McKenzie Long, and catchers Lindsey Besson and Jordan Davis.
"Credit has to go to Northwestern - they jumped on us in the first and second, and their pitcher never allowed us to get going at the plate. We got behind too early with a 10-0 hole before our second chance to see thier pitcher and just never recovered.
This is doubly difficult because this is a very special group of seniors who played their final game today. These six student-athletes really made a difference in our program. This was certainly not the way they wanted to go out. Tonight it stings, but they should be remembered not for today but their entire body of work throughout their careers where they truly made a difference in the culture of our program."
Head Coach Jacquie Joseph
STATS AND STORYLINES
2018 BIG TEN SOFTBALL ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Tara Trainer, Jr., P, Indiana
Taylor Uden, Sr., 1B, Indiana
Allison Doocy, So., P, Iowa
Kaitlyn Eveland, Jr., 3B, Michigan State
Lea Foerster, Sr., OF, Michigan State
Maddie Houlihan, Jr., OF, Minnesota
Kendyl Lindaman, So., C, Minnesota
MaKenna Partain, So., 2B, Minnesota
Dani Wagner, Sr., OF, Minnesota
Rachel Lewis, Fr., 2B, Northwestern
Morgan Newport, So., P, Northwestern
Sabrina Rabin, Sr., OF, Northwestern
MOST OUTSTANDING PLAYER: Maddie Houlihan, Jr., OF, Minnesota