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Softball Hosts Rival Michigan on Saturday

Senior Lori Padilla

April 13, 2012

Games 39-41: Michigan State (11-21,0-9) vs. Michigan (21-11, 8-1)
 Game 1 Saturday, April 14 | East Lansing, Mich. (Secchia Stadium) | 1 p.m.
 Game 2 Sunday, April 15 | Ann Arbor, Mich. (Wilpon Softball Complex) | 1 p.m.
 Game 3 Sunday, April 15 | Ann Arbor, Mich. (Wilpon Softball Complex) | 3 p.m.
 Statistics Michigan State | Michigan
 Social Media @MSU_Softball | Facebook

EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State softball team returns to Big Ten action with a home-and-home series against Michigan this weekend. The intrastate rivalry begins at Secchia Stadium on Saturday (April 14) at 1 p.m. ET and continues with a double-header in Ann Arbor, Mich. on Sunday (April 15) at 1 p.m.

"We typically compete very well against Michigan," said head coach Jacquie Joseph. "Michigan is a very good team, but they are a little bit more mortal this year because they have a young pitching staff. I would expect that we will compete better at the plate this year than in the past because of that."

Series History...
The Michigan-Michigan State rivalry will reach the century mark this weekend as the schools face off for the 100th time on Sunday. The Spartans trail in the all-time series 71-27 as they fell 8-0 in both games of the season series last year.

Last Time Out... MSU hosted Eastern Michigan on Wednesday (April 11) and fell to the Eagles 6-3. The Spartans scored three of the last four runs in the matchup but were unable to overcome a five run deficit in the first inning.

The Spartan offense was split among the batting order as senior Lori Padilla, sophomore Sarah Bowling and junior Jayme O'Bryant each scored one run. O'Bryant earned a run and RBI against the Eagles with her first home run of the season. Sophomore Cassee Layne was the starter for MSU, but was relieved by freshman Carly Nielsen in the third inning. Nielsen only gave up one run for the rest of the game, which was a solo homer to center field.

Spartan Scouting Report...
Michigan State currently has a 11-27 overall record and are 0-9 in the Big Ten. Leading the offense for MSU is junior Kylene Hopkins. The center fielder owns a .411 batting average and 21 runs. Hopkins' team-high 44 hits, 10 doubles and 18 walks has helped her to a team-best .500 on base percentage. Senior Lori Padilla tops the team in runs scored with 28 while boasting a .361 batting average.

Freshman Carly Nielsen currently leads the Spartan pitching staff with a 5.81 ERA in 30 appearances. In 88.0 innings of work, the newcomer has struck out 44 opposing batters. Sophomore Cassee Layne has struck out the most batters with 62 Ks and an ERA of 7.22 in 97.0 innings.

Michigan Scouting Report...
The Wolverines enter the weekend with a 8-1 Big Ten record and are 21-11 on the season. Michigan is led offensively by Amanda Chidester, who owns a .339 batting average, .643 slugging percentage and 38 hits. Chidester has tabbed 11 doubles and seven homeruns this year and has an on base percentage of .436.

In the circle, Haylie Wagner boasts a team-best 1.58 ERA and 19-4 record. Wagner has struck out 84 batters in 137.2 innings this season.

Big Ten Rankings...
As of April 12th, Michigan State is tied for first in the conference in saves with four. MSU is fourth in four categories including triples (5), steal attempts (51), stolen bases (39) and fielding double plays (39).

There are also seven Spartans who see themselves ranking in the top of the Big Ten. Junior Kylene Hopkins is fourth in the conference in batting average (.411) and sacrifice bunts (7) and is fifth for on base percentage (.500). Senior Ali Grant is tied for third in sacrifice flies (3) and sixth for triples with two. Freshman Carly Nielsen leads the conference in games finished (13) and games in relief (18) and is tied for first in saves (3). Nielsen is also tied for second in appearances (30) while junior Shelby Wise is second in both games in relief (15) and games finished (9). With 20 games started, sophomore Cassee Layne is currently tied for sixth in the Big Ten in that category. Freshman McKinzie Freimuth sits in fifth place for fielding double plays (8) and is sixth for putouts (226). Fellow freshman Alyssa McBride owns 12 steal attempts, which ranks sixth in the Big Ten.

Next up...
Michigan State will remain at home next weekend when they host the Iowa Hawkeyes. The three-game series begins with a twinbill on Saturday (April 21) at 1 p.m. ET and continues on Sunday (April 22) at 1 p.m.



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