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Softball Hosts Penn State for Doubleheader

MSU last saw a Big Ten 3-0 start and Indiana sweep in 2006.

April 2, 2013

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EAST LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan State softball team will host Penn State on Wednesday, April 3, for a doubleheader beginning at 3 p.m.  The Spartans own a 17-13 record overall and are undefeated, 3-0, in Big Ten play.  Penn State is 7-19 overall on the season and 0-3 in conference play.  The doubleheader was originally scheduled for Tuesday, but was pushed back a day due to inclement weather.

Series History...
The Nittany Lions lead the Spartans 27-22 in the all-time series.  Michigan State edged Penn State, 7-6, in 2011 at home for the last Spartan win.  In 2012, Penn State took the series 4-3, 11-5, and 7-5.

Last Time Out...
The Spartans swept the series against Indiana last weekend at Secchia Stadium in the Big Ten home opener. 

On Friday, MSU blanked IU, 5-0.  Junior Kelly Smith took the mound for the complete game and notched seven strikeouts.  Senior Kylene Hopkins was first to score for Michigan State in the bottom of the first inning.  MSU took a 3-0 lead with a single by junior Sarah Bowling (two RBIs) to send sophomore Ellie Stoffer and senior Jayme O’Bryant home.  Freshman Destinee Luna notched two RBIs hitting a double to centerfield in the third inning, finalizing the score at 5-0.

Michigan State posted the second win on Saturday, defeating Indiana 10-7.  Sophomore pitcher Carly Nielsen earned her first win of the season and senior Jayme O’Bryant and junior Sarah Bowling posted home runs.  Leading the MSU offense was O’Bryant, who went 2-for-3 with five RBIs.  McBride went 4-for-5 and Hopkins went 2-for-3.

The Spartans edged the Hoosiers on the final day of the series in extra innings, 2-1.  Smith on the mound tallied eight strikeouts.  Indiana put the first runs on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth inning, but MSU answered with a run in the bottom of the fourth.  O’Bryant hit a home run to centerfield to tie the score, 1-1.  In the bottom of the eighth, with the bases loaded, O’Bryant scored off of an error by Indiana’s catcher after Luna reached first on fielder’s choice.

Spartan Scouting Report...
Senior Kylene Hopkins paces the Spartans with a .426 batting average, which ranks sixth in the Big Ten.  Of her 40 hits this season, two are doubles and another two are triples.  The senior has notched seven RBIs and leads the team with 22 runs.  With 175 hits tallied in her career, she ties for 15th in the MSU record book.

Leading the Spartans in RBIs is senior Jayme O’Bryant with 24 on the season, junior Sarah Bowling is close behind with 23.  Bowling leads the team with four home runs, while O’Bryant has notched three.  O’Bryant and sophomore Ellie Stoffer are tied for the team high of seven doubles.

Splitting time on the mound are junior Kelly Smith and freshman Dani Goranson.  In 129 2/3 innings pitched, Smith has compiled a 13-7 record, 2.05 ERA and 145 strikeouts.  Goranson has pitched 59 1/3 innings and posted a 2.71 ERA with a 2-5 record. 

Spartans in the Rankings...
As a team, Michigan State is seventh in the conference in batting (.284) and sixth in the conference for pitching (2.62 ERA).  The Spartans also tie for fifth in the conference for triples (5) and tie for first in sacrifice bunts (31). 

Senior Kylene Hopkins sits at sixth in the conference for individual batting at .426. Hopkins sits at fourth in on-base percentage (.514) and ties for eighth in hits (40). Sophomore McKinzie Freimuth is second in the Big Ten with 11 sacrifice bunts. 

Junior Kelly Smith is third in the Big Ten in innings pitched (129 2/3) and eighth in ERA (2.30).  Smith’s 145 batters struck out is third highest in the Big Ten, while her 47 batters struck out looking earns her the top spot. 

A Sweeping Start…
The last time the Spartans earned a Big Ten sweep was April 3-4, 2010 against Minnesota in a two-game series, 2-1, 7-6.  MSU last saw a Big Ten 3-0 start and Indiana sweep in 2006.

Big Ten Pitcher of the Week…
Junior Kelly Smith was named the Big Ten Pitcher of the Week, the conference office announced on Monday.  The junior transferred to Michigan State this season from McLennan Community College.

In the series against Indiana, Smith pitched 17 innings for the Spartans and allowed only one earned run, two runs total.  She tallied 20 strikeouts over the weekend and Indiana saw only eight hits when she was on the mound.  Smith owned a 0.41 ERA for the weekend.

Penn State Scouting Report…
The Nittany Lions are 7-19 this season and are 0-3 in the Big Ten.  Last weekend, Penn State was swept by Michigan.

Leading the team on the offense is Cassidy Bell with a .456 batting average, 34 RBIs, 14 home runs and six doubles.  Bell also has a team high of 36 hits. 

Macy Jones leads on the mound for Penn State with a 4.86 ERA and 56 strikeouts.  Jones owns a 6-7 record in 80 2/3 innings pitched. Jordan Wheatley has pitched 35 1/3 innings with a 6.54 ERA.

Nittany Lions in the Rankings…
Penn State sits at sixth in the Big Ten for team batting with a .286 batting average and for slugging percentage (.429).  The Nittany Lions sit at seventh in the conference for on-base percentage (.357) and home runs (22).

Cassidy Bell holds the third spot for individual batting average in the Big Ten with a .456 batting average and has scored 30 runs, ties for sixth in the Big Ten.  Bell sits at second for total bases (84) and tied for first for home runs (14).

Macy Jones is 11th in the conference for batters struck out looking notching 19. 

Over the Fence…
MSU softball notched three home runs over the weekend and has nine on the season.  Senior Jayme O’Bryant and junior Sarah Bowling both hit one on Saturday against Indiana.  O’Bryant tallied another on Sunday to tie up the score in the bottom of the fourth inning.  Others earning home runs this season are sophomores Ellie Stoffer and Stephanie Sanders.

Success Striking Out…
MSU pitcher, junior Kelly Smith, entered the rankings for single-season pitching strikeouts over the weekend.  She has registered 145 this season to sit at eighth in the record books, 47 of which are struck out looking. 

700 Wins…
Coach Jacquie Joseph picked up the 700th win of her career as the Spartans defeated Niagara, 2-1, on March 5. Joseph is in her 20th year as head coach at MSU and is the winningest coach in program history.  She has won 568 games at Michigan State after winning 136 games in five seasons at Bowling Green from 1989-93. She has guided MSU to four NCAA Regional appearances (1997, 1999, 2003, 2004) and is one of just three active coaches in the Big Ten to have at least 700 wins.

Joseph has posted three 40-win campaigns, including a school-record 47 wins in 1997. She was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2003 after leading the Spartans to a 40-19 mark and a berth in the NCAA Regionals.

Game Rescheduling…
MSU’s matchup against Toledo was cancelled at the Hoosier Classic and has been rescheduled for a home game on Wednesday, April 17, at 4 p.m.  The home opener against Western Michigan was postponed until Wednesday, April 10, at 4 p.m. due to inclement weather last week.  The Penn State series has been rescheduled as a doubleheader for Tuesday, April 2, at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Next up...
The MSU softball squad will head to Purdue for a weekend series in West Lafayette, Ind.  The two teams will face off on Friday, April 5, at 4 p.m. to begin the series.  On Saturday, April 6, the Spartans and Boilermakers will go head to head at 1 p.m.  The series will conclude on Sunday, April 7, at 1 p.m.



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