Spartans Play Twice Midweek
After road game at Michigan, Spartans get first home game since April 2
|Michigan State at Michigan|
|Date/ Time|| vs. Michigan: Tuesday, April 18, 2017 / 6 pm
vs. Toledo: Wednesday, April 19, 2017 / 4 pm
|Location|| (Tues) Ann Arbor, Mich..Alumni Field, Wilpon Complex
East Lansing, Mich..Secchia Stadium
|Tickets||Tuesday: Michigan Ticket Office Wednesday: Free Amdission|
|Live Statistics|| Tuesday, 6 pm at Michigan
Wednesday, 4 pm vs. Toledo
|Television|| Tuesday: BTN; Lisa Byington (pxp) and Carol Bruggeman (analysis) |
|Live Video Stream|| Tuesday at Michigan |
Wednesday vs. Toledo
|Radio Broadcast|| Spartan Sports Network Matt Tjapkes, pxp
Download the SSN App
|Download Game Notes||Michigan State | Michigan|
|Social Media||@MSU_Softball | MichiganStateSoftball @MichStSB|
THE WEEK AHEAD
Michigan State has four Big Ten games on tap and five overall with a midweek tilt at No. 18 Michigan (Tuesday), at home against Toledo (Wednesday) and a three-game series at home with No. 25 Ohio State over the weekend.
Tuesday's game will air live on BTN, as well as online on BTN2Go. Lisa Byington and Carol Bruggeman have the call of the game. Wednesday's game will have a live stream on BTN2Go from Secchia Stadium.
No. 18 Michigan sits in a tie atop the Big Ten standings with an 8-1 Conference record and is 28-8-1 overall. The Wolverines suffered their first Big Ten loss of the season and saw its win streak halted at 14 in a 5-0 defeat at No. 25 Ohio State last Sunday.
MSU trails the all-time series against the Wolverines by a 27-87 margin, which includes a 13-41 record in Ann Arbor.
Much of Michigan's success this season has come from its ace Megan Betsa, who owns a 1.39 ERA and 17-6 record while ranking first nationally in strikeouts (292), third in shutouts (9) and saves (4). Kelly Christner leads the offensive attack with team bests in batting average (.405), slugging pct. (.595) and on-base percentage, (.521) as well as sharing the team in lead in home runs (5).
Toledo enters the week with a 20-27 overall record, and sits at 8-7 in MAC play. In recent games, the Rockets split with Central Michigan and took three games from Eastern Michigan - both teams that are coming up on the Spartan schedule.
Toledo is led offensively by Chandler Rice, who is batting .389, with 10 homers and 14 doubles to her credit this season. In the circle, the Rockets have two pitchers with at least 30 appearances - Heather Webb boasts a 3.49 ERA with seven complete games and a 9-9 record in 132 innings. Kailey Minarchuck has a 4.95 ERA and 8-9 overall record.
SPARTAN TEAM NOTES
MSU dropped all four of its Big Ten games last week to fall to 21-16 overall and 5-8 in Conference play. The Wolverines sit in second in the B1G standings (11-2).
The Spartans were supposed to be enjoying a homestand that featured 16 of 18 games at home, but the flooding of the Red Cedar River forced the relocation of two B1G series (vs. Penn State and Illinois) as well as last Wednesday's game vs. Michigan.
The Spartans return home on Wednesday for a non-league tilt vs. Toledo, and then will host Ohio State (April 21-23). MSU will have just nine home games in 2017. MSU is 4-0 at home, 12-6 in neutral-site games, and 5-10 in true road games this season. Wednesday's game will be MSU's first home contest since April 2.
On Wednesday March 29 vs. Western Michigan, head coach Jacquie Joseph earned her 650th victory at Michigan State. Now in her 24th season as the Spartan mentor and 29th season overall as a head coach, she has 791 career victories in her career.
MSU leads the B1G in triples (17), and ranks second in slugging percentage (.545), home runs (47), and fewest strikeouts (109); The Spartans are fourth in batting average (.313), on-base percentage (.401). and fifth in RBI (205).
Nationally, the Spartans are 28th in batting average, fourth in homers per game (1.27), and fifth in slugging percentage, 21st in on-base percentage, and first in triples per game (0.49). MSU is also 17th in scoring (6.05 runs per game),
On the season, Michigan State has accumulated 115 extra-base hits, good for 37.7% of its total hits (305). The Spartans have hit 50 doubles, 18 triples, and 47 home runs in 2017. Only Minnesota (126) has more extra-base hits among Big Ten teams.
The Spartan batters have struck out a league-low 109 times in a combined 976 at-bats. The Spartans are tied for sixth in the Big Ten in walks (120) and are fifth in hits (305), while ranking second in batters hit by pitch (32). The Spartans have the third-fewest plate appearances in the Big Ten (1128).
MSU's offense is looking at a third consecutive year of top-10 all-time numbers. MSU's current 47 home runs is third in MSU's single-season record book. The school record is 53, hit in 2011. MSU's current pace of 1.27 per game (fourth nationally) would project the Spartans at a school-record 63 at the end of the regular season.
MSU has had only one team in program history hit .300 for a season - the 2004 squad hit .306. The Spartans are currently hitting .313, with a slugging percentage (.545) and on-base percentage (.401) that would also be the program's historical best.
Lea Foerster leads the team and ranks fourth in the Big Ten with a .412 batting average, is third in slugging percentage (.842) and third in on-base percentage (.535), and leads the B1G in doubles (15). She is tied for sixth in home runs (10), which is her career best.
Foerster made two highlight-reel catches in center in MSU's game in Ann Arbor last Wednesday, including one in the seventh inning that robbed Courtney Richardson of a base hit that appeared among SportsCenter's Top 10 plays of the day.
Among national leaders, Foerster is 53rd in batting average, eighth in doubles and third in doubles per game (0.41), 14th in on-base percentage, 13th in slugging percentage, and second in runs scored per game (1.24).
Foerster has 14 multiple-hit games this season, and has had two different 10-game hitting streaks. She has reached base in 33 consecutive games entering the week, the longest streak of any Spartan this season.
Foerster has 15 doubles, which ties her sophomore year total and ranks fourth all-time in a single-season at MSU. Her 10 homers is also a career best, and is seventh in a single season in the Spartan annals.
With her strong start to her junior campaign, Foerster is steadily moving up the career records charts at MSU. Foerster has 42 career doubles, good for fourth place in the Spartan career record book. Her 71 career extra-base hits is fourth all-time at MSU, she is tied for 10th in career triples (10), and with 170 career hits, she has moved up to an all-time ranking of 18th in the Spartan annals. In addition, her 134 career runs scored is seven shy of the school record of 141, held by Keri Lemasters (1994-97).
Foerster leads three of her teammates who are hitting .400 or better this season with runners in scoring position. Foerster leads the trio (.467, 14-of-30), followed by McKenzie Long (17-of-37, .459), who leads the team with the most hits in that situation. Freshman Kelcey Carrasco (.438, 14-of-32) is also on that list.
Ebonee Echols tied her own school record with two triples in the game against Penn State on April 9. (She previously had two in a game on April 8, 2016 at Maryland). This pushed her career total to 20, making her MSU's all-time career leader.
Echols leads the B1G and Division I softball with 11 triples this season. That total is one behind the school record of 12, held since 1980 by Izzy Forester.
Echols boasts a .336 batting average, starting all 37 games this season. She has a team-best 36 RBI (tied for eighth in the Big Ten), and leads her team with 10 multiple-RBI games. She is the national leader in triples and triples per game (0.30).
Echols is perhaps MSU's best hitter in the clutch. She is batting .432 with two out (16-of-37), and 23 of her 36 RBI on the season have come with two out, the most on the team. She is also batting 5-of-8 with the bases loaded (.625), while Kaitlyn Eveland (3-of-8) and Lea Foerster (3-of-7) have three base hits in that situation.
Echols ranks third nationally among active players in career triples, but is the only sophomore among the top 10 active career players in triples. Both players ahead of her - Taylor Brown (24) from Abilene Christian and Lindsay Crowdus of Memphis (22) - are seniors. The all-time NCAA record for career triples is 51, and the second-place holder has 38.
Echols is tied for sixth all-time in the Big Ten in career triples, and has the most by any player in the Big Ten since 1999:
Patti Benedict, Michigan (1990-93)
Juliette Brooks, Rutgers (1996-99)
Kathy Foley, Nebraska (1977-80)
Shelley Mendernach, Minnesota (1976-79)
Sarah Gutknecht, the team's lone senior, is also moving up the career charts. Her 28 career home runs is third in the Spartan annals. She ranks 20th on MSU's all-time hit list with 165 career base hits, and is fifth in MSU history with 115 career RBI. Gutknecht is hitting .312 on the year, with eight doubles, nine home runs, and 26 RBI.
Sophomore Kaitlyn Eveland missed all or part of the nine games during spring break, but has returned to her third base spot since the team began its northern season. Eveland tied a school record with two home runs in the second game of a doubleheader with Penn State (4/9) and is third on the team with a .351 average. She has 33 base hits, compiling four doubles, two triples, five homers, and 27 RBI, all career highs. She has started 32 of 37 games at third base.
Lexi White has started the last nine games in right field, and has a base hit five of the last eight games. In this stretch, she's hitting .333 with two doubles, three homers, and four RBI.
Freshman Kelcey Carrasco is hitting .318 and is tied for 11th in the Big Ten with seven home runs. She has 21 RBI and owns a .557 slugging percentage. Over her last eight games, she is batting .320 with two doubles, three homers, and 10 RBI.
Lindsey Besson has started each of MSU's 14 games since playing "up north" behind the plate, and with just one error in 23 games, owns a .990 fielding percentage, second on the team behind center fielder Lea Foerster (1.000). In her fourth season in the program, Besson has a great handle on the Spartan pitching staff. McKenzie Long is batting .300, is tied for fourth in the Big Ten in sac bunts (8) and has added 13 RBI. She ranks third in the Big Ten in sacrifice hits per game (0.24).
Melanie Baccay has started 32 of her 34 games at second base, and is hitting .280 on the year with two homers and four doubles. She and classmate Kelcey Carrasco both hit home runs in their first college games on Feb. 10 vs. North Florida, and she added a second vs. No. 16 Georgia (3/4).
Bridgette Rainey has been the workhorse of the staff, with 93.0 innings to her credit. She owns a 4.44 ERA and a 12-7 record, tossing four complete games and striking out 101 compared to 69 walks. .
Rainey ranks 15th in the Big Ten in innings pitched, ranks fourth in strikeouts, and seventh in wins (12). She also is 12th in appearances (25) and tied for ninth in starts (17).
Freshman Jordan Watson owns a 5-3 record, with 24 appearances (six starts) and a 3.75 ERA. She has logged 65.1 innings, scattering 73 hits, walking just 20 batters and striking out 23.
Watson has embraced her role as a closer in recent games. Over her last nine outings (18.1 IP), she has a 2.25 ERA with two saves; she has given up just six earned runs and struck out seven, limiting opponents to a 1.94 batting average in those contests.
Watson ranks in a tie for third in the Big Ten with three saves. Megan Betsa (UM) and Breanna Wonderly (ILL) share the Conference lead with four.
Kristina Zalewski owns a 3.67 ERA on the season, with a 2-5 overall record in 15 appearances. She has 42 strikeouts in 55.1 innings, with two saves and three complete games.
Zalewski has 10 career saves, which is tied with Jessica Beech for third place in the MSU record book.
With 399 career strikeouts, Zalewski ranks fifth all-time in the MSU annals. Just four pitchers have reached the 400-strikeout mark, with Jessica Beech sitting atop the career leaderboard with 659. The other three are within Zalewski's striking distance over the balance of the season: Rachel Turney (406, 2005-07), Becky Gray (407, 1999-02) and Stacey Smith (408, 1994-97).