Michigan State fell to Illinois State , 6-0, in the regional championship game of the National Invitational Softball Championship (NISC). MSU ends its season at 34-24
MSU forced the second game of the day with a walkoff 4-3 victory in the noon contest, but struggled to get their bats going in the second game vs pitcher Ali Domkuski, who earned the win by scattering five hits and allowing just one walk. Kristina Zalewski took the loss (8-9), going five innings and striking out six and scattering nine hits.
As they did in the opening game, the Redbirds took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on a home run, but the home team tacked on three runs on four hits in the fifth and a sixth run in the bottom of the sixth. MSU had the leadoff hitter on base in each of the first four innings, but just couldn't bring any around to put any pressure on the home team.
MSU won its most games since also winning 34 in the 2006 season, and went 5-3 in postseason play (the Big Ten Tournament and NISC combined) The Spartans established new offensive team records in seven categories: Runs (345), batting average (.313), homers (66), RBI (320), total bases (820), slugging percentage (.528) and on-base percentage (.405), while several indiidual single-season and career records also fell.
MSU graduates two seniors: four-year starter Sarah Gutknecht and pitcher Valerie Kaff, weho retired from pitching earlier this season but embraced a role as a pinch runner over the last six weeks of her senior season. MSU will welcome six newcomers to its 2018 squad, which will return 15 letterwinners.
"Hats off to Illinois State - not only as a team, but also to their athletic department and University for supporting this tournament and putting on a first-class event in the first year. We've battled to the end in so many games, and so many times we came out on the good end - but despite the disappointment in today's result I have nothing but pride about what this team accomplished. I know that they left it all out on the field, and we kept fighting to the very end. Its going to sting for a bit, because we had a great opporuntity in front of us. But again - kudos to Illinois State. "
Head Coach Jacquie Joseph
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