May 17, 2017
Box Score PDF Box : MSU 7, IUPUI 1
Michigan State downed IUPUI 7-1 on Wednesday afternoon in the second round of the National Invitational Softball Championship (NISC). Kaitlyn Eveland led the Spartans with a 3-for-4 performance with four RBI, while Kristina Zalewski threw two innings of no-hit relief to secure the victory.
MSU will play again at 8 pm ET against the loser of the 5 pm Illinois State - Murray State game. The winner will advance to tomorrow's championship round.
The game was an elimination contest, as both teams lost their first-round game on Tuesday. The Spartans had baserunners in every inning, and rebounded from yesterday's extra-inning loss to Murray State to stay alive in the Tournament and improve to 32-23 on the year. IUPUI finishes its season with a 23-31 record.
MSU opened up a 2-0 lead in the first inning with some help from an Eveland RBI single, scored single runs as insurance in the fourth and fifth innings, then blew it open with a three-run homer from Eveland in the bottom of the sixth. IUPUI manufactured its only run in the top of the third, but could not solve the Spartan pitchers enough the rest of the way to add any more runs to the scoreboard.
MSU starter Bridgette Rainey (16-8) went five strong innings before leaving in the sixth when she was hit by a batted ball; Kristina Zalewski earned the save with two-innings of no-hit relief.
With her four RBI on the day, Eveland esablished a new school single-season record - she now has 57, one more than Lindsey Hansen's old mark of 56, set in 2011. Meanwhile, Zalewski recorded her 11th career save, good for second all-time in MSU history; the record is 12, held by Erica Strutz (1997-2000).
Kaitlyn Eveland went 3-for-4, with a home run and four RBI.
Melanie Baccay, moved up to seventh in the lineup, went 3-for-3 on the day with a run scored.
Bridgette Rainey got the start and went five innings, striking out five and allowing one earned run, walking two. Kristina Zalewski no-hit the Jaguars in the sixth and seventh to earn her third save..
"I liked the way we responded today - we scored first, we scored in multiple innings, and we got outstanding pitching both from our starter and in relief. We are going to look for the same when we play again later tonight - just a focus on the task at hand".
Head Coach Jacquie Joseph
STATS AND STORYLINES
The Spartans looked to set a tone early, getting a run on the board before they had a base hit and getting an RBI single from Kaitlyn Eveland for a 2-0 lead after the opening frame.
IUPUI got a run back in the top of the third. A one-out single and a ground out put a runner on second for Roni Patterson, who doubled into center and brought home Alyssa Matson. Rainey got out of the inning with a fly ball into center to limit it to one run.
The Spartans had baserunners in both the second and third, but couldnt get another across the plate until the fourth. Melanie Baccay led off with a single to left, and Lea Foerster delivered an RBI double to left center to make it a 3-1 ballgame.
MSU had a pair of runners on in the fifth, as Eveland and Baccay added their second and third base hits of the day, respectively. Pinch hitter Jordan Davis was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and Ebonee Echols came on as a pinch hitter. Echols singled up the middle to score Eveland, but Baccay was thrown out at the plate on a great throw by IUPUI center fielder Matson.
In the top of the sixth, Rainey walked the leadoff batter, then a batted ball by Patterson went back up the middle and off the leg of Rainey for a base hit. Zalewski came in for Rainey at that point, facing a situation with two on and none out. Zalewski got Maggie Good to ground to third, and Eveland stepped on third and then zipped the ball across to first for a double play. Zalewski hit the next batter, but retired the next batter on a grounder to short to end the inning.
The Spartans tacked on three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, thanks to a three-run shot to left center by Eveland, her 10th homer of the season. Zalewski worked a 1-2-3 top of the seventh to close out the victory for MSU.
Eveland's 10th homer of the season in the sixth gave her four RBI on the day and 57 in her career, establishing a new single-season school record. THe old record of 56 was held by Lindsey Hansen, set in her All-America senior season of 2011.
Lea Foerster's double was her 25th of the season and the 52nd of her career, tying Keri Lemasters (1994-97) for the all-time MSU career record. She already owns the school career record in runs (157), and with 85 career extra-base hits, she is three shy of MSU's career record in that category.
MSU now has four double-digit home run producers this season: Lea Foerster leads the group with 14, while Sarah Gutknecht, Kelcey Carrasco, and Kaitlyn Eveland all have 10. Lexi White has nine.