Spartans Ready For another B1G Week Of Action
MSU hosts Michigan Tuesday, Travels to Ohio State for Weekend Series
|Michigan State vs No. 17 Michigan; at No. 22 Ohio State|
|Dates||April 17; April 20-22, 2018|
|Location|| Tuesday, April 17: East Lansing, Mich.Secchia Stadium
Friday-Sunday, April 20-22: Columbus, Ohio Buckeye Field
|Game Coverage Links|| TUESDAY, 3 pm Live Stats | Webstream (BTN2Go) | Radio|
|Television|| Tuesday vs. Michigan: BTN Lisa Byington, pxp; Carol Bruggeman, Analysis
Sunday at Ohio State: BTN Jordan Bernfield, pxp; Jennie Ritter, Analysis
|Radio Broadcast|| Spartan Sports Network Matt Tjapkes, pxp
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|Tickets|| Admission to Tuesday's game at Secchia Stadium is free.
|Download Game Notes||Michigan State | Michigan | Ohio State|
|Social Media||@MSU_Softball | MichiganStateSoftball @MichStSB|
THE WEEK AHEAD
Michigan State has four Big Ten games on tap this week, beginning with a midweek contest at home against Michigan (Tuesday, 3 pm). The weekend series features the Spartans at Ohio State for three games.
Big Ten Network will carry Tuesday's game in East Lansing. Lisa Byington is on play-by-play and Carol Bruggeman will handle analysis. On Sunday, Jordan Bernfield and Jennie Ritter will call the MSU-Buckeyes game from Columbus.
There will be a live webstream for each game of the Ohio State series through Buckeye Vision. Links for all video webstreams are available on MSUSpartans.com, as will links for live statistics.
Spartan Sports Network continues its coverage of Spartan softball, and will provide a live broadcast from every game, home and away, for the remainder of the season. Matt Tjapkes is back for his fourth season on the call.
SPARTAN TEAM NOTES
Michigan State and Michigan meet for the 118th time on Wednesday, and MSU trails the all-time series by a 28-89 margin. Last week`s meeting of the teams went to Michigan, a 1-0 pitchers duel.
The Wolverines are atop the Big Ten standings with a 35-7 overall record and are 10-1 in Conference play after the MSU win and a pair of victories over Rutgers last weekend. Carol Hutchins is in her 34th season as the head coach at Michigan, and is a 1979 graduate of Michigan State and a member of the Spartans' 1976 AIAW National Softball Championship team.
The Spartans and Ohio State series tips in favor of he Buckeyes by a 68-42 mark, but he teams split four games last season. MSU won two of three in a series at Secchia Stadium last April, but OSU won game three, and then took a 4-3 win in the Big Ten semifinals.
Kelly Kovach Schoenly is in her fifth season as the Buckeye head coach in 2018. The Buckeyes are 26-10 overall, and sit at 7-6 in Big Ten play after dropping two at Northwestern last weekend.
MSU is 4-8 through four Big Ten weekends, and took two of three at Penn State last weekend after the midweek loss at Michigan.
MSU played its first 27 games on the road before its home opener on March 27 vs. Western Michigan, a 6-1 win. After a six-game homestand, MSU is now in the middle of seven of eight on the road over two weeks before a five-game homestand April 24-29.
MSU's pitching staff owns a team ERA of 3.15 (seventh, B1G), surrendering 257 hits and striking out 230 batters over 240.1 innings, issuing 109 walks. MSU's ERA ranks seventh in the Big Ten, while ranking fourth in strikeouts and sixth in strikeouts looking (59).
MSU's pitchers have allowed just 12 home runs this season, second behind Michigan (8) for the lowest number in the Big Ten.
MSU pitchers have thrown 20 complete games in 37 contests this season, surpassing last season's total of 12. The 20 complete games is second behind the 22 from Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.
Thirteen of MSU's 37 games have been one-run contests, and MSU is 6-7 in those games. A year ago, MSU had 15 one-run games and was 7-8.
Six games this season have been walkoffs - three wins (vs. Northern Illinois, Stanford, and San Diego State) and three losses, two of which came in extra innings (vs. Georgetown (9) and Cal Poly (8).
MSU is 4-15 when scoring two runs or fewer and 12-6 when scoring three runs or more. The Spartans are 12-2 when allowing its opponent two runs or fewer.
The Spartans had 26 hits in the PSU series, tied with the three games vs. Nebraska for the B1G season high. MSU had 23 base hits in the Indiana series, and had 11 hits in the two games vs. Minnesota.
Fourteen of MSU's 22 home runs have come in the last 17 games. The Spartans did not hit a round-tripper in the first nine games of the season.
MSU ranks fourth in the Big Ten in walks, drawing 120 free passes. The Spartans are second in strikeouts (157), which is tied for the second-fewest in the B1G behind Illinois (149). MSU is also third in the Big Ten in hit by pitch (33) behind Northwestern (42) and Michigan (34).
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 plays 19 games against 11 teams in the NFCA 2018 preseason Top 25 poll.
Michigan State head coach Jacquie Joseph is in 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, 2017) 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
Kristina Zalewski threw three complete games last week, starting with a tough 1-0 loss on the road at Michigan on Wednesday evening, where she scattered six hits in six innings. On Saturday at PSU, Zalewski threw all 14 innings of a doubleheader, winning both contests. She struck out 11 in the first game, tossing a two-hitter in a 7-1 MSU victory. In the nightcap, she struck out eight and allowed just two earned runs as MSU won 6-2. On the week, she struck out 22 and walked just two batters, scattering 14 hits over 20 innings.
Zalewski ranks eighth in the Big Ten with 1.92 ERA on the year, ranking sixth in strikeouts (116). Opponents have a .234 batting average against the senior, which ranks 10th in the Big Ten.
Zalewski moved up to third place in career innings pitched in the MSU annals (642.2), and ranks fourth in career victories (48) and is tied for seventh in complete games (46). She also ranks second in career strikeouts (589), 70 behind recordholder Jessica Beech (659, 2001-04).
Zalewski has had 100+ strikeouts in each of her four collegiate seasons. She had 116 a year ago when she missed the first month of the season rehabbing from off-season surgery, and has matched that total in 2018. Her single-season high is 209, set in 2016
Among active Division I leaders, Zalewski is fifth in career pitching appearances (151), 28th in games started (94), 16th in innings pitched, eighth in saves (12), 18th in strikeouts, and 28th in strikeouts per seven innings (6.37).
Zalewski was named MSU's President's Award winner for the highest GPA in the graduating class. She owns a perfect 4.0 through nine semesters, and will earn her second bachelor's degree in May.
Bridgette Rainey owns a 3.85 ERA and a 4-8 record, striking out 82 batters (14th, B1G) in 76.1 innings pitched.
With 337 career strikeouts to her credit, Rainey sits in a eighth place in MSU's career recordbook.
Jordan Watson is 2-4 on the season with a 4.33 ERA. She has six starts and 15 appearances overall, tossing two complete games. She has struck out 25 and walked just 15 in 43.2 innings.
Watson struck out a career-best five in a four-inning outing against Indiana on March 31, allowing three earned runs.
Freshman McKenna Gregory made her MSU debut against Cal State Fullerton, and has seven relief appearances including a three-inning outing last Friday at Penn State She owns a 4.77 ERA in 14.2 innings pitched.
PLAYER NOTES - FIELD PLAYERS
MSU has four upperclassmen on its current team who are hitting .317 or better in their careers at MSU. Foerster leads the way with a .364 average, behind only school recordholder Patti Raduenz (.372, 1993-96). Kaitlyn Eveland is third all-time at MSU with a .347 career average, while McKenzie Long (10th, .319) and Ebonee Echols (T-11th, .317) and are also in the career top 10 for the Spartans.
Foerster is batting a team-best .349, with a .651 slugging pct. (11th, B1G) and .478 on-base pct. (fourth). She ranks fourth in the league in doubles (12), has been walked 14 times and leading the league in hit by pitch (14).
In the series against Penn State, Foerster hit her team-best seventh home run of the season and had three RBI, going 3-for-11 and adding a sac fly and stolen base.
Foerster is 54th nationally in doubles per game (0.32), and 13th in hit by pitch per game (0.38).
Foerster ranks among MSU's top 10 in nine different career categories. She is MSU's all-time run-scoring (179), extra-base hit (105) and doubles (65) leader, is second in batting average (.364), third in base hits (233), and home runs (30), fifth in RBI (120), seventh in walks (72), and 10th in triples (10).
The center fielder ranks among active Division I career leaders in several categories. She leads active players in doubles, is fifth in hit by pitch (60), 12th in runs (179), ninth in total bases (407), 24th in hits, 30th in triples and 35th in at-bats (640).
McKenzie Long did not play in the three-game series at Penn State. On the year, Long ranks second on the team with a .348 average, and her 31 base hits is third. She boasts seven doubles, nine RBI, 14 walks, 12 runs scored, and a pair of stolen bases.
Long has 113 career runs scored, which ranks seventh all-time in the MSU record book. She also just moved into MSU's career top 20 in base hits, ranking in a tie for 17th in program history with Sarah Gutknecht (179). She also ranks sixth all time in walks (74).
Kaitlyn Eveland is third among Spartans with a .313 average, walking a team-high 16 times. She is second on the team in home runs (5) and has 17 RBI, tied for second on the team.
Eveland went 3-for-11 in the Penn State series, smacking two doubles and a home run. In Friday's game, she had five RBI, tying her career best and setting a team high for a single game this season. She had six RBI on the weekend.
With a career .347 batting average, Eveland ranks third on MSU's all-time career list. She hit .403 a year ago, which is fifth all-time in a single season at MSU. She owns 112 career base hits in 115 career games. She ranks second on the team with 90 career RBI, 11 away from breaking into MSU's top 25.
Katie Quinlan has started each of the last five games. Moved into the two spot in the order, Quinlan started off the Penn State series with back-to-back three-hit efforts, establishing a new career best. She legged out three infield hits on Friday, and added a triple on Saturday as she led MSU with a .586 average in the series (7-for-12).
Quinlan is hitting .296 on the season, and is second on the team with four stolen bases.
Ebonee Echols owns a .296 batting average with seven doubles, three triples, two homers, and 12 RBI. She leads the team in runs scored (24), and has the most at-bats (115).
Echols had a pair of triples last week to push her career total to 23, which is an MSU career record and ranks n a tie for second all-time in the B1G. She is the career leader among active Division I players in triples - as a junior.
Echols had three stolen bases in the PSU series, giving her a team-best seven on the season. She is also tied for the team lead in walks (16).
With a career .317 batting average, Echols currently sits in a tie for 11th place among MSU's all-time career leaders. She is also climbing her way into MSU's other career top 10 categories - she has 141 base hits, 84 RBI, and 39 walks.
Kelcey Carrasco hit .333 in the Penn State series, producing four hits and four RBI. She had a stolen base and scored twice.
Carrasco is hitting .261 on the season, leading the Spartans with 21 RBI and ranking third with four homers.
Freshman Caitie Ladd has cemented her spot as the starting shortstop, batting .273 and has produced two doubles and two home runs on the year with 12 RBI.
Fifth-year starter Lindsey Besson has started 32 of 37 games behind the plate. She has thrown out nine stolen base attempts, the most in a single season in her career, and is fifth in the Big Ten in that category. She is a deft handler of the pitching staff, catching both Zalewski and Rainey throughout their careers. She currently ranks 13th in the Big Ten in putouts (197) and is without an error in 208 defensive chances (16th, B1G).
Melanie Baccay hit .500 in the Penn State series, recording three hits (one triple) in three at-bats with two walks, a base on balls, and added a stolen base.