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Softball Hosts Illinois for Senior Weekend

Junior Kelly Smith has registered 189 strikeouts this season to tie for third in the record books.

April 25, 2013

Games 42-44: Michigan State (21-20, 7-6) vs. Illinois (16-25, 6-11)
 Location East Lansing, Mich. | Secchia Stadium
 Game 1 Friday, April 26 at 5 p.m.
 Game 2 Saturday, April 27 at 1 p.m.
 Game 3 Sunday, April 28 at 1 p.m.
 Live TV Big Ten Digital Network
 Statistics Michigan State | Illinois
 Notes Michigan State | Illinois
 Social Media Updates @msu_softball | Facebook

EAST LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan State softball team will take on Illinois in the final Big Ten series at home of the season.  The Spartans and Fighting Illini begin the series on Friday, April 26, at 5 p.m.  The two teams will continue play on Saturday, April 27, at 1 p.m. and conclude the series at 1 p.m. on Sunday, April 28.  MSU will recognize the seniors for their accomplishments on Sunday prior to the game. Games will air live on Big Ten Digital Network.

Series History...
Illinois leads the series 16-6 with Michigan State.  The last time they faced each other was in 2011 and the Fighting Illini took the series 6-3 and 3-2.  MSU last defeated the Fighting Illini in 2008, 11-3 in five innings.

Last Time Out...
After four consecutive games were cancelled for Michigan State, a game against Toledo and a series against Minnesota, the Spartans faced Ohio State in a doubleheader on Wednesday.

In game one, Ohio State tallied the first run in the bottom of the second inning.  In the top of the fourth, MSU tied up the score with a double by sophomore Stephanie Sanders to send senior Jayme O’Bryant across the plate.  The Buckeyes came back in the bottom of the sixth with three runs to take the win, 4-1.  Junior Kelly Smith pitched for MSU and struck out eight batters.

The Buckeyes scored the first run in the bottom of the first in game two.  Michigan State tallied three runs in the top of the third with a home run to left center by O’Braynt.  The three run lead wasn’t enough though as Ohio State posted three runs in the bottom of the fourth and two in the bottom of the sixth.  Freshman Dani Goranson fell to 3-8 on the season after pitching five innings.

Spartan Scouting Report...
Senior Kylene Hopkins paces the Spartans with a .402 batting average, which ranks ninth in the Big Ten.  Of her 51 hits this season, five are doubles and another two are triples.  The senior has notched 10 RBIs and leads the team with 26 runs.  With 186 hits tallied in her career, she is 11th in the MSU record book.

Junior Sarah Bowling leads the Spartans in RBIs with 30, while senior Jayme O’Bryant trails behind with 29.  Bowling also leads the team with six home runs.  O’Bryant has tallied a team high of ten doubles and four home runs on the season. 

Leading MSU on the mound is junior Kelly Smith with a 16-11 record and a 2.47 ERA in 173 innings pitched and 189 strikeouts, to sit at third in the Big Ten.  Smith has pitched 18 complete games and has notched six shutouts in the circle.  Freshman Dani Goranson owns a 3.78 ERA in 83 1/3 innings pitched along with five complete games.

Spartans in the Rankings...
As a team, Michigan State is ninth the conference in batting (.267) and seventh in the conference for pitching (3.43 ERA). 

Senior Kylene Hopkins sits at ninth in the conference for individual batting at .402. Hopkins ranks ninth in the Big Ten for on base percentage (.483).

Junior Kelly Smith is second in the Big Ten in innings pitched (173) and ninth in the ERA (2.47).  Smith’s 189 batters struck out is third highest in the Big Ten, while her 61 batters struck out looking earns her the second spot.  

In Big Ten Matchups…
The Spartans are fourth in the conference in sacrifice bunts in Big Ten games with 12.  MSU is second in batters struck out in conference match ups (30).

Hopkins in the Record Book…
Senior Kylene Hopkins has earned two spots in the record book this season.  The senior has tallied 104 runs to sit at eighth in all time career records and at 11th for 186 hits.

Success Striking Out…
Kelly Smith has entered the rankings for single-season strikeouts.  She has registered 189 this season to tie for third in the record books, 61 of which are struck out looking.

Shutout Sensation…
The Spartans have tallied seven shutouts on the season; three are 1-0 victories.  Junior Kelly Smith has notched six of the shutouts.

Illinois Scouting Report…
The Fighting Illini have notched a 16-25 record on the season and 6-11 in the Big Ten.  Illinois is ninth in the conference standings.  On Wednesday, the Fighting Illini swept Iowa in a doubleheader, 8-5, 6-3.

Alex Booker owns a .375 batting average to lead the Fighting Illini on the offense.  With a team-high of 25 RBIs, Jess Perkins has compiled six doubles and three home runs.  Remeny Perez has notched four runs on the season and 13 RBI to contribute to the Illinois offense.

Leading in the circle, Shelese Arnold has pitched 111 innings and owns an 8-10 record on the season.  Arnold owns a 2.77 ERA, while Pepper Gay owns a 4.54 ERA with an 8-15 record in 137 1/3 innings pitched.

Fighting Illini in the Rankings…
Illinois is fourth in the conference for team fielding with a .961 fielding percentage.  The Fighting Illini ties for sixth in the Big Ten with eight triples and take sixth in strikeouts with 226. 

Alex Booker has stolen 17 bases on the season to tie for sixth in the Big Ten, Kylie Johnson is close behind with 15 to take 11th.  Johnson and Booker have both notched 18 steal attempts to rank eighth for steal attempts in the conference.

Shelese Arnold is 11th in the Big Ten for ERA (2.77).  Gay Pepper has tallied 101 strikeouts for ninth in the conference. 

Home Sweet Home…
The Spartans are 5-3 on the season in home games.  Michigan State swept Indiana at home to start the Big Ten season, 5-0, 10-7, 2-1 (8).  In the doubleheader against Penn State the Spartans earned another sweep, 4-1, 7-1.  The Spartans fell to Michigan in the final two games of the series and to Notre Dame, 2-0.

A Sweeping Start…
Michigan State swept Indiana, 5-0, 10-7, 2-1, and Penn State, 4-1, 7-1, to start its Big Ten season.

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. 

The last 5-0 Big Ten start for the Spartans was in 2006 while the last five consecutive Big Ten wins for MSU was in 2007.

Big Ten Pitcher of the Week…
Junior Kelly Smith was named the Big Ten Pitcher of the Week, the conference office announced April 1.  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.

Over the Fence…
MSU softball notched three home runs in the series against Indiana and has 12 on the season.  Senior Jayme O’Bryant notched the most recent home run in the second game of the Ohio State doubleheader.  O’Bryant’s home run notched three RBIs as well.

O’Bryant and junior Sarah Bowling both hit one on Saturday, March 30, against Indiana.  O’Bryant tallied another on Sunday, March 31, to tie up the score in the bottom of the fourth inning. 

Bowling notched another home run in the second game against Penn State to give MSU an additional two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning as well as one during the third game against Michigan.  Others earning home runs this season are sophomores Ellie Stoffer and Stephanie Sanders.

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 573 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.

Next up...
The Spartans continue their home game streak on Wednesday, May 1, against Eastern Michigan at 5 p.m.



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