|Michigan State vs. Ohio State|
|Dates||April 21-23, 2017|
|Location|| East Lansing, Mich..Secchia Stadium
|Tickets|| Purchase Tickets
Family Four Pack (Saturday Only) | Four Seats, Four Treats Package (Sunday Only)
|Live Statistics|| Friday, 4 pm
Saturday, 1 pm
Sunday, 1 pm
|Television|| Big Ten Network (Friday only)|
Lisa Byington (pxp) and Jennie Ritter (analysis)
|Live Video Streams|| Friday, 4 pm |
Saturday, 1 pm
Sunday, 1 pm
|Radio Broadcast|| Spartan Sports Network Matt Tjapkes, pxp
Download the SSN App
|Download Game Notes||Michigan State | Ohio State|
|Social Media||@MSU_Softball | MichiganStateSoftball @MichStSB|
THE WEEKEND AHEAD
Michigan State welcomes Ohio State to East Lansing for a three-game Big Ten series. MSU enters the weekend with a 22-17 overall record and is 5-9 in Big Ten play, while the Buckeyes, receiving votes in this week's NFCA Top 25 poll, is 27-11, 10-4 B1G.
During Saturday and Sunday's games, we will celebrate our seniors Sarah Gutknecht and Valerie Kaff at Secchia Stadium. Each senior is given her own "Day" during the home schedule, where she is honored for her career as a Spartan softball player. Gutknecht will be honored on Saturday, and Kaff on Sunday. For their Senior Features, visit MSUSpartans.com.
Live statistics links for all three contests can be found on the team schedule page of MSUSpartans.com.
Friday's game will air live on the Big Ten Network. Lisa Byington (pxp) and Jennie Ritter (analysis) will have the call of the game. All three games will have a webstream on BTN2Go. With the exception of MSU's game at Central Michigan on April 26, each of MSU's remaining games in the regular season will air on this platform.
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 third season on the call, with former Spartan standout Ali Grant and All-American and former pitching coach Jessica (Beech) Bograkos providing analysis on home games.
The all-time series falls in favor of the Buckeyes by a 66-40 margin, and OSU owns a 26-14 record in East Lansing. Last season, MSU took two of the three games played in Columbus, snapping a 12-game skid in the series.
Ohio State is 27-11 overall and 10-4 in Big Ten play. The Buckeyes won a midweek matchup with Pittsburgh after taking two of three from Indiana last weekend at home.
Lilli Piper leads the Buckeye attack with a .405 average, launching 12 homers and amassing 42 RBI. Alex Bayne leads her team with 13 homers, and is batting .336. In the circle, Shelby Hursh has carried the laod with 97.0 innings pitched, boasting a 2.24 ERA (seventh, B1G) and 11-4 overall record in 16 starts with five shutouts, but has shared the innings in B1G games with Shelby McCombs, who has 20 innings and a 2.08 ERA compared to Hursh's 2.81 ERA over 32.1 in Conference contests.
Michigan State sits in second place in the Big Ten standings with 48 home runs on the season, just one off league leader Ohio State (49).
SPARTAN TEAM NOTES
Michigan State snapped a five-game skid with a 13-7 victory over Toledo at Secchia Stadium on Wednesday, and also had a 3-1 loss at Michigan on Tuesday.
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 two B1G series (vs. Penn State and Illinois) to neutral sites as well as flipping a home game against Michigan (April 12) to Ann Arbor. MSU went 2-5 in the seven relocated games, and was only able to return to its field to practice this week. MSU is 5-0 at Secchia Stadium, 12-6 in neutral-site games, and 5-11 in true road games this season.
In MSU's 26 games away from Secchia Stadium to start the season, the Spartans were the true or designated visiting team in 20 of those contests.
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 792 career victories in her career.
MSU sits in a tie for ninth place with Indiana in the Big Ten standings with an 5-9 Big Ten record. Minnesota leads the pack at 13-1, Michigan is 12-2, followed by Illinois (10-2) and Ohio State (10-4).
The Spartans were the sixth school to reach the 20-win mark (overall) in the Big Ten.
MSU leads the B1G in slugging percentage (.542), and triples (19), ranks second in homers (48), third in on-base pct. (.411), runs (238), RBI (218), and sac flies (13), while landing fourth in batting average, (.315), and hits (325).
Entering the week, MSU ranked nationally in several categories. The Spartans were 23rd in batting average, fourth in homers per game (1.27), and slugging percentage (.557), and first in triples per game (0.52). MSU was also 12th in scoring (6.36 runs per game),
On the season, Michigan State has accumulated 120 extra-base hits, good for 36.9% of its 325 base hits. Only Minnesota (128) has more extra-base hits among Big Ten teams; OSU is fourth with 100.
The Spartan batters have struck out 127 times in a combined 1033 at-bats, the second-fewest of schools in the Big Ten (Minnesota has 120 to lead the way.) The Spartans are fifth in the Big Ten in walks (130) and fourth in hits (325), while ranking second in batters hit by pitch (38).
MSU's offense is looking at a third consecutive year of top-10 all-time numbers. MSU's current 48 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 .315, with a slugging percentage (.542) and on-base percentage (.406) that would also be the program's historical best.
The MSU pitching staff is first in the Big Ten in saves (7), and ranks fifth with 192 strikeouts on the season.
Sophomore Kaitlyn Eveland had career highs in hits (4) and RBI (5) in Wednesday's win over Toledo. Four hits is the second-most in a game all-time at MSU, and tied McKenzie Long (v. North Dakota, Feb. 18) for the team's season high. Her five RBI is third-most in a game at MSU and second for MSU this season, behind Ebonee Echols' six vs. North Dakota in the same game.
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 an April 8 win over Penn State. She is third on the team and 15th in the Big Ten with a .363 average, ranks 12th with a .627 slugging pct, is 15th with a .446 on- base percentage, and her 32 RBI is tied for 12th. She has 37 base hits, compiling five doubles, two triples, six homers, and 32 RBI, all career highs. She has started 31 of 36 games at third base.
Ebonee Echols had her first career two-double game against Toledo on Wednesday, and pushed her season total to seven to go with her 11 triples and three homers. She boasts a .333 batting average, starting all 39 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.
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 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 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 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:
24 Donna Devanney, Penn State ( 1985-86, 88-89)
23 Lisa Panetta, Michigan (1982-85)
22 Nan Sichler, Penn State ( 1985-88)
Patti Benedict, Michigan (1990-93)
Juliette Brooks, Rutgers (1996-99)
Kathy Foley, Nebraska (1977-80)
20 Ebonee Echols, Michigan State (2016-17)
Shelley Mendernach, Minnesota (1976-79)
Echols is perhaps MSU's best hitter in the clutch. She is batting .410 with two out (16-of-39), 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-10 with the bases loaded (.500), - McKenzie Long leads the team in that category (.3-for-5, .600), while Kaitlyn Eveland and Lea Foerster are both 3-of-8, (.375) with the bases loaded.
Lea Foerster leads the team and ranks fourth in the Big Ten with a .395 batting average. Among her other standings among B1G leaders, she is fourth in slugging percentage (.870) and on-base percentage (.526), and leads the B1G in doubles (15) and runs scored (47). She is also 14th in hits (47), 11th in RBI (33), and third in total bases (96) while ranking sixth in home runs (10), which is her career best.
Entering the week, Foerster ranked 53rd nationally 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 35 consecutive games, the longest streak of any Spartan this season.
Foerster has 15 doubles tying her career best set as a sophomore. That total is good for fourth all-time in a single season at MSU.
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 fifth 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 135 career runs scored is six shy of the school record of 141, held by Keri Lemasters (1994-97).
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 116 career RBI. Gutknecht is hitting .304 on the year, with eight doubles, nine home runs, and 27 RBI.
Gutknecht hit her fourth sac fly of the season against Toledo, which is tied for the most in the Big Ten.
McKenzie Long had a combined five hits in the two midweek games - she had two at Michigan, and then three on Wednesday (including a triple) and three RBI against Toledo. She's hitting .319 on the season with 178 RBI, nine sac hits, two triples and two doubles.
Foerster (13-of-31, .500) and Long (21-of-42, .452) are the top two Spartan hitters with runners in scoring position, while Kelcey Carrasco (16-of-36, .444) is also over .400.
Freshman Kelcey Carrasco is hitting .304 and is tied for 10th in the Big Ten with eight home runs. She has 27 RBI and owns a .539 slugging percentage.
Lindsey Besson tied a school record vs. Toledo when she was hit three times in the batter's box, a record originally set by Sandy Lewis on March 2, 2002 by North Carolina. She was hit three times by three different Toledo pitchers.
Besson has started 20 games behind the plate, and with just two errors in 28 games, owns a .981 fielding percentage, fourth on the team behind center fielder Lea Foerster (1.000), 1B Sarah Gutknecht, and C/DP Kelcey Carrasco (.983). In her fourth season in the program, Besson has a great handle on the Spartan pitching staff.
Kelly Zackrison had a breakout performance during the team's spring break, which has meant more playing time for the sophomore. She had a career-best three base hits against Toledo on Wednesday, and has started 16 of her 30 games this year. She is batting .327 with two doubles and a home run.
Melanie Baccay has started 34 of her 36 games at second base, and is hitting .281 on the year with two homers and three doubles. She and classmate Kelcey Carrasco both hit home runs in their first college games on Feb. 10 vs. North Florida, and Baccay added a second vs. No. 16 Georgia (3/4).
On Tuesday vs. Toledo, Jordan Watson made her seventh start of the season and first since March 24, and tossed her first career complete game. She improved to 6-3 on the season, and owns a 4.06 ERA. She had come on in relief in six of the previous eight games, going at least two innings in each. She is tied for first in the Big Ten in relief appearances this season, ranks third in saves (3), and is 12th in appearances (25).
Bridgette Rainey turned in a strong relief effort on Tuesday at Michigan, going 2.2 innings and allowing just two hits and one unearned run, striking out four.
Rainey has logged the most innings of anyone on the staff, compiling a total of 95.2. She owns an ERA of 4.32, is seventh in the B1G in wins (12), fourth in strikeouts (105), tied for 10th in starts (17) and 11th in total appearances (25). Her 12 victories and 105 strikeouts are both career highs.
Kristina Zalewski owns a 3.58 ERA on the season, with a 2-6 overall record, 44 strikeouts in 58.2 innings, and three complete games. She has 10 career saves, which is tied with Jessica Beech for third place in the MSU record book.
With 401 career strikeouts, Zalewski ranks fifth all-time in the MSU annals. She is one of five MSU pitchers have reached the 400-strikeout mark, with Jessica Beech the leader 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).
Redshirt junior Valerie Kaff had two surgeries in the 2015-16 season, which would be enough to have some players consider retirement. She is back in action, pitching limited innings in what she has determined will be her final season in 2017. She has thrown 11 innings over nine appearances this year.