March 1, 2018
| Michigan State at the Judi Garman Classic
|| March 2-4, 2018
|| Fullerton, Calif. Anderson Family Field
|| Friday vs. No. 2/2 Florida, 12:30 pm ET Live Stats | Video (FloSoftball, $) | Florida Radio
Saturday vs. Stanford, 6 pm ET Live Stats | Video (FloSoftball, $) | Fullerton Radio
Saturday vs. No. 18/17 Louisiana, 11 pm ET Live Stats | Video (FloSoftball, $) | Louisiana Radio
Sunday vs. Cal Poly, 4 pm ET Live Stats | Video (FloSoftball, $)
Sunday vs. Cal State Fullerton, 7:30 pm ET Live Stats | Video (FloSoftball, $) | Fullerton Radio
|| Judi Garman Classic Tournament Hub
|Download Game Notes
|| Michigan State | | Stanford | Louisiana | Cal Poly | Cal State Fullerton
|| @MSU_Softball | MichiganStateSoftball @MichStSB
THE WEEKEND AHEADMichigan State begins its 10-day trip to Southern California for spring break, and has a pair of tournaments on the docket. First up is the Judi Garman Classic at Cal State Fullerton, where the Spartans will play No. 2/2 Florida (Friday), Stanford and No. 18/17 Louisiana (Saturday) and Cal Poly and Cal State Fullerton on Sunday.
Links for live statistics for each MSU game will be available on the program's official website, MSUSpartans.com.
FloSoftball.com will be providing a live video stream of every game at the Judi Garman Classic ($).
SPARTAN TEAM NOTES MSU went 5-0 last weekend at the FIU Classic, twice defeating the host squad by identical 2-0 scores. MSU also beat Siena (9-1, six innings), Boston College (9-5), and Central Connecticut State (5-4).
The Spartans are tied with Ohio State for the longest active winning streak in the Big Ten.
The Spartans have seven players from the state of California on its roster: seniors Lindsey Besson (San Rafael) and McKenzie Long (Alta Loma), junior Kaitlyn Eveland (Anaheim), sophomores Melanie Baccay (Elk Grove) and Kelcey Carrasco (Woodlake), and freshmen Caitie Ladd (Los Alamitos) and McKenna Gregory (Benecia). It is the most-represented state on the MSU roster next to Michigan, which also has seven players.
MSU's pitching staff has kept the Spartans in contention every game. Overall, MSU's staff owns a team ERA of 1.72, surrendering 82 hits and striking out 87 batters over 93.2 innings. MSU's ERA ranks third in the Big Ten and 35th nationally, and third in the B1G in strikeouts.
MSU got complete games from its pitchers in four of the five games last weekend at FIU and in 12 of 14 contests overall this season. The Spartan hurlers have matched their 2017 total of complete games (12).
The Spartan pitchers allowed 10 runs (nine earned) over five games at the FIU Classic, striking out 37 while allowing just 31 base hits. Opponents had a .240 batting average on the weekend.
Spartan opponents are averaging 2.4 runs per game - the second lowest total behind Michigan (1.1) in the B1G.
MSU's lineup has shuffled more than the coaching staff would like, dealing with injuries over the first two weeks of the season. The Spartans have started four different players at both corner infield positions in 14 games.
As a team, the Spartans hit .289 against the four teams in Miami last weekend. MSU hit its first four home runs of the season and added 10 doubles among its 27 base hits.
MSU committed just three errors in five games last weekend after committing 16 miscues over its first nine contests.
While errors have caused the Spartans some issues, the defense has turned six double plays. MSU's 0.43 double plays per game ranks third in the Big Ten.
Five of MSU's 14 games have been one-run contests, and MSU is 3-2 in those games. A year ago, MSU had 15 one-run games and was 7-8. Two games this season have been walkoffs - one win (vs. Northern Ilinois) and one loss, which came in nine innings vs. Georgetown.
The Spartans return 15 letterwinners from its 2017 team that finished 34-24 and seventh in the Big Ten with an 11-12 record in Conference play. The Spartans lost just one starter to graduation (1B Sarah Gutknecht) and return two starting pitchers as well as starters in seven of eight field positions, plus DP.
The 2018 Spartan softball schedule features games against schools from 14 different conferences, nine non-conference teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament, and three which advanced to the Women's College World Series in 2017. MSU will have 19 games against 11 teams in the NFCA 2018 preseason Top 25 poll.
MSU's Big Ten schedule features seven three-game series as well as a pair of midweek contests against Michigan. The Spartans have three home series: against Indiana (March 30-April 1), Minnesota (April 6-8), and Rutgers (April 27-29). MSU has road series at Nebraska (March 23-25), Penn State (April 13-15), Ohio State (April 20-22) and Maryland (May 4-6). Minnesota, Michigan, and Ohio State were all NCAA Tournament teams in 2017.
A year ago, MSU ranked among the national top 25 in seven different categories: slugging percentage (.524, sixth), doubles per game (1.57, eighth), triples per game (0.34, eighth), home runs per game (1.14, ninth), scoring (5.95 runs per game, 15th), on-base percentage (.404, 16th), and batting average (.313, 21st).
In 2017, the MSU pitching staff led the Big Ten in saves (10), which was a new single-season school record for the Spartans. Michigan State pitchers combined for 309 strikeouts (fourth-all-time at MSU), while the combined innings pitched (382.2) was the tenth-most in program history. In the Big Ten, MSU's pitching staff ranked third in strikeouts (309), fifth in strikeouts looking (74), third in innings pitched (382.2), and led the conference in saves (10). The Spartans were ninth in ERA (4.12).
Michigan State head coach Jacquie Joseph begins her 25th season at the helm of the Spartan softball program, and is the longest-tenured coach in program history, along with being the third-longest-tenured head coach in MSU's athletics department.
Joseph captured her 800th career victory with the 5-4 victory over Michigan in the 2017 Big Ten quarterfinals. Earlier in the season, she won her 650th game as the Spartan mentor - a win over Western Michigan (March 29) at Secchia Stadium.
MSU hitting coach Kaela Jackson is in her third season in East Lansing, while pitching coach Ben Sorden joins the staff for 2018. Volunteer assistant coach Kelsey Christenson is beginning her second season.
PLAYER NOTES - PITCHERS
MSU's pitching staff tossed four complete games last weekend. Kristina Zalewski and Bridgette Rainey each had one, with Jordan Watson starting the fifth game and Zalewski earning the win in relief.
The Spartan pitching staff has thrown 12 complete games in 2018, matching its 2018 total through three weekends of the season.
Kristina Zalewski went 3-0 in Miami, earning two complete-game victories and a win in relief. She allowed just one earned run and one walk over the three games for an 0.44 ERA. In her complete-game wins - her fourth and fifth of the season - she struck out seven in each game; she had four strikeouts and surrendered two hits in relief vs. CCSU.
Zalewski finally got some run support - MSU scored 15 runs while Zalewski was in the circle in Miami compared with just three runs in Zalewski's first three starts this season (21.2 IP) - all complete games.
Zalewski ranks second in the Big Ten with an 0.93 ERA on the year, ranking 11th in strikeouts (33) and fifth in walks allowed per seven innings (1.49).
Zalewski ranks fifth in career innings pitched in the MSU annals (574.2) sixth in career victories (42), and ranks second in career strikeouts (506).
Among active career Division I leaders, Zalewski is fifth in pitching appearances (136), 23rd in games started (82), 11th in innings pitched, sixth in saves (12), 16th in strikeouts, and 21st in strikeouts per seven innings (6.16).
Bridgette Rainey got two starts in Miami, and went 2-0 allowing 12 hits and striking out 16 over 14 innings. She allowed four earned runs, and walked four.
On the season, Rainey owns a 2..15 ERA (12th, B1G) and a 4-2 record, striking out 45 batters in 39.0 innings pitched, surrendering 17 earned runs. Opponents have a .231 batting average.
Rainey is tied for fourth in the Big Ten in strikeouts (45) and second in strikeouts per seven innings (8.1).
With 300 career strikeouts to her credit, Rainey needs 16 to break into MSU's all-time top 10 in that category.
Jordan Watson is 1-1 on the season with a 2.47 ERA. She has three starts and four appearances overall, tossing two complete games. She has struck out nine and walked just three, scattering 19 hits over 17 innings.
Each of the three Spartan pitchers has been credited with a shutout victory this season.
PLAYER NOTES - FIELD PLAYERSJust two players have started all 14 games at the same position: LF Ebonee Echols and CF Lea Foerster. Melanie Baccay is the only other player to start 14 games; she has 13 starts at 2B and one at 1B.
Echols hit .471 to lead the Spartans to a 5-0 weekend in Miami, delivering three doubles and five RBI with just one strikeout. She posted a .647 slugging percentage, compiling three extra-base hits among her eight total hits on the weekend.
On the year, Echols leads the Spartans with a .409 batting average, which ranks third in the Big Ten. She has four doubles (fourth, B1G) eight RBI, and a team-best 18 base hits, which also ranks third among Big Ten players She is also 13th in the league in on-base percentage (.458).
Echols owns has 20 career triples, which is an MSU career record and ranks sixth all-time in the B1G. She is the career leader among active Division I players in triples - as a junior.
CF Lea Foerster had a pair of doubles and a home run last weekend in Miami. On the season, she's batting .356 with six doubles, five RBI, and a team-best six runs scored.
Foerster's six doubles ranks shares the lead in the Big Ten and 12th nationally - a category she led the nation in a year ago. She ranks third in doubles per game (0.43) and tied for fifth in the Conference in base hits (16). She is also 15th in both slugging percentage (.556) and on-base percentage (.442)
Foerster ranks among MSU's top 10 in eight different career categories. She is MSU's all-time run-scoring (164), extra-base hit (93) and doubles (59) leader, is second in batting average (.366), fourth in home runs (24), seventh in base hits (211), and RBI (108), and 10th in triples (10).
The center fielder ranks among active Division I career leaders in several categories. She leads active players in doubles, (59), is sixth in hit by pitch (50), 11th in runs (164), and total bases (362), 14th in hits, 21st in triples and 18th in at-bats (576). Her .628 career slugging percentage is 45th.
Freshman Caitie Ladd started every game at shortstop in the FIU Classic. She hit .333 on the weekend with a .800 slugging percentage and .412 on-base percentage. She had hits in four of the five games, including her first collegiate homer and a double vs. Central Connecticut, as well as a two-run homer in the tournament finale vs. FIU - the lone runs of the game for either team. Her two home runs on the season ranks 10th in the Big Ten.
Katelyn Eveland was injured in the first game of the season vs. Duke, and missed seven games before returning to the lineup in the Gamecock Invitational finale vs. Southern Illinois. She started all five games last weekend in Miami, hitting .375 on the weekend with six hits and an RBI.
Senior McKenzie Long had three base hits and drew four walks last weekend in five games at FIU. On the year, she has a .324 batting average with three doubles, three RBI and five runs scored, and a stolen base.
Long has 106 career runs scored, which ranks ninth all-time in the MSU record book. She also just moved into MSU's career top 25 in base hits, ranking 23rd in program history with 159. She also ranks ninth all time in walks (65).
Fifth- year starter Lindsey Besson hit .308 last weekend in Miami, recording four hits (one double) and a pair of RBI.
Besson has started 13 of 14 games behind the plate. She has thrown out five stolen base attempts, (the second-most of her career), and tied for first in the Big Ten. She is a deft handler of the pitching staff, catching both Zalewski and Rainey throughout their careers. She currently ranks fourth in the Big Ten in putouts and is without an error in 94 chances.
Laney Joyner had a pair of base hits last weekend - she had a pinch-hit single vs. Central Connecticut, and an RBI double in the Saturday game vs. FIU.
Kelcey Carrasco had seven RBI last weekend on three base hits, which included a double (vs. FIU) and home run (vs. Central Connecticut. Carrasco leads the team with 10 RBI, which rank eighth in the Big Ten.
Kelly Zackrison and Summer Callahan have each appeared in nine games as a pinch runner. Callahan has scored three times, and Zackrison two.
MSU is giving its young players opportunities to play early. All four of their first-year position players have started at least one game, with Caitie Ladd and Laney Joyner each starting 10, and Katie Quinlan starting six. Riley Paxson has started in three games and Joanna Bartz one.