April 29, 2011
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State softball team (22-22, 3-9 Big Ten) hits the road for the first time in five games when it travels to Minneapolis, Minn., for a two-game conference series against the Golden Gophers. Game one is scheduled for Saturday, April 30 with game two on Sunday, May 1. Both games are slated to start at 2 p.m. ET, with Sunday's contest also live on the Big Ten Network.
MSU trails in the all-time series to the Golden Gophers, 52-34. The Spartans took both contests from Minnesota a year ago. In game one, MSU posted a 2-1 win while winning the second game, 7-6.
Last Time Out...
MSU snapped its four game skid with a game one win, 8-0, over Oakland on Wednesday, April 27 during a doubleheader in East Lansing at Secchia Stadium. In the second game, the Golden Grizzlies were victorious over the Green and White with a 5-3 win. Junior Melanie Bensema recorded her first grand slam in her career in the bottom of the first inning during game one against Oakland. The home run also marked the team's first in the new Secchia Stadium.
Spartan Scouting Report...
Senior Lindsey Hansen leads the Spartans with her .421 batting average and her Big Ten leading 17 home runs. Hansen currently leads the conference with 120 total bases as well as assists with 114. Hansen also currently leads the team on the base path with 16 stolen bases. Hansen also leads the team in slugging (.902) and extra base hits (26).
Leading the Spartans on the rubber is freshman Cassee Layne. Layne enters the weekend with a team-high 142.2 innings of work. Layne is 10-13 on the year and boasts an ERA of 3.14. Layne has held the opposition to a .262 batting average on the year. On the year, Layne has 98 strikeouts.
Golden Gophers Scouting Report...
Minnesota enters the week with a record of 27-20. Malisa Barnes leads the Golden Gophers at the plate with a .439 batting average. Barnes is also the top slugger for UM with her .640 slugging percentage and 18 extra base hits and 24 RBIs.
Sara Moulton is the top pitcher for the Golden Gophers with her 1.85 ERA and 24-12 record. Moulton has tallied 230.2 innings of work and has struck out 277 batters, while limiting the opponent to a .208 batting average.
MSU returns home for its final two non-conference contests on Wednesday, May 4 and Thursday, May 5. The Spartans will first battle Western Michigan at 5 p.m., in a game which was originally scheduled to be played on Wednesday, March 30, but was postponed due to unsafe field conditions. The Green and White will then face Eastern Michigan on Thursday at 4 p.m. Both games will be contested inside Seccia Stadium in East Lansing.
Freshman Cassee Layne has been a stable force for the Spartans within the circle this season. Layne impressed in her MSU debut as she became the first Spartan to pitch a complete game shutout since 1982. Layne pitched the Green and White to a 2-0 win over Boston College during the first game of the season.
Player of the Week...
Senior Lindsey Hansen earned conference Player of the Week status on March 7 after hitting a .750 clip and knocking in 11 runs to help Michigan State to a 3-1 record the week of Feb. 28-March 6. The senior shortstop had three multi-hit and multi-RBI games in finishing 9 for 12 from the plate for the week, including a 4-for-4 performance against Seton Hall in which she hit her 31st career home run. Hansen drove in four against the Pirates after driving in three each against Providence and South Carolina, also stealing two bases. She scored seven runs and finished with an OPS of 2.369 in earning her second career weekly honor.
Freshman Cassee Layne earned Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week honors on Feb. 21 following her performance at the Homewood Suites/Hilton Garden Inn Tournament. Layne took home honors after throwing two complete game shutouts for Michigan State on the weekend. Allowing just one earned run in 15.1 innings pitched, Layne finished the week with a 0.46 ERA and 12 strikeouts, walking just four in the process. She pitched seven shutout innings in a 1-0 win over Villanova and five scoreless in a 9-0 shortened game against Saint Louis.
Through the first 41 games of the season, MSU currently ranks 35th in the nation in slugging percentage with an a .471 team mark, and is also ranked 32nd in the nation in home runs with a 1.07 homers a game average. The Spartans are currently second in the Big Ten in homers with 44 on the year.
Big Ten Rankings...
Individually, senior Lindsey Hansen is tops in the conference in home runs (14), total bases (104) and sacrifice hits (three). Hansen also ranks second in runs scored (42) and assists (105), and third in slugging percentage (.839). Junior Brett Williams also ranks among the conference leaders in several categories. Williams is second in slugging percentage (.843), third in RBIs with 48, home runs (13) and total bases (97).
Home Run Queen...
Senior Lindsey Hansen became MSU's all-time home run leader when she blasted her 32nd career home run against Florida Atlantic on Sunday, March 13 in Boca Raton, Fla. On Wednesday, April 13, Hansen solidified herself as MSU's home run queen as she recorded her 14th homer of the season, becoming the school's single-season home run leader. Hansen currently has 39 homers in her career and 17 on the season. Hansen's season total currently ranks her first in the conference and 23rd in the nation. Hansen's 2010 total ranks fifth (11) in program history while her 2009 total is tied for sixth (10). Against Central Michigan on Tuesday, April 26, Hansen tied MSU's single-game home run record with her two blasts against the Chippewas.
Secchia Stadium Dedication...
The Spartans will dedicate the new Secchia Stadium at home against Michigan on Saturday, May 14. The dedication ceremony with the Secchia family and special guests is scheduled to begin at 11:55 a.m. on the infield.
Construction crews took to the field at the conclusion of the 2010 season to complete the renovation of Old College Field. The new 1,100-seat stadium features 120 chair back seats, a new press box, backstops, and handicap-accessible seating with brick accents to architecturally match the façade of historic Jenison Field House and the indoor hitting and pitching facility. Prior to the start of the 2010 season, home and visiting dugouts were constructed in-ground and feature an added restroom at the end of each dugout. In recognition of a $1 million gift from alumnus Ambassador Peter F. Secchia, the Michigan State University Board of Trustees voted unanimously on Sept. 17 to approve the naming of the new softball facility Secchia Stadium. Secchia's donation is the largest cash (outright) gift received by an MSU women's intercollegiate sports program.
Home Sweet Home...
The Spartans opened their 2011 home schedule on April 2 against conference foe Wisconsin. It marked the first two of four straight home contests for MSU throughout the week. Over the course of the 2011 season, the Green and White will play 14 home contests, which will be capped off with the stadium dedication game against Michigan on May 15. MSU's longest span at home is seven games over the course of eight days (April 20-27).
Softball To Air On SpartanSportsNetwork.com...
Selected Michigan State softball games will be broadcast for free this spring on spartansportsnetwork.com.
In addition to the free audio stream on spartansportsnetwork.com, the games will also be available on the free Spartan Sports Network Mobile App. In the fall, Spartan Sports Network teamed up with JacAPPS to have the app available for the iPhone, iPad and Android devices. The application features live streaming of Michigan State broadcasts, along with coaches shows, feature programming, highlights, archives, social connectivity and more.
The app is free and available for download from the iTunes store and Android Marketplace. Simply search Spartan Sports Network.
To listen to the games on spartansportsnetwork.com, simply click on the appropriate game link on the main page in the "Spartan Sports 24/7 Box", located on the right-side of the page, or click on the "Spartan Sports 24/7" link at the top of the site.
TENTATIVE BROADCAST SCHEDULE
Saturday, April 23 vs. Indiana
Sunday, April 24 vs. Indiana
Wednesday, May 11 vs. Purdue (DH)
Saturday, May 14 vs. Michigan
The Spartans On Television...
The Spartans will have three games broadcast by the network during the 2011 season. In addition, MSU will have five contests streamed live on the BigTenNetwork.com.
TENTATIVE BROADCAST SCHEDULE
Sunday, April 10 at Iowa (BigTenNetwork.com)
Wednesday, April 13 at Northwestern (BigTenNetwork.com)
Wednesday, April 13 at Northwestern (BigTenNetwork.com)
Sunday, May 1 at Minnesota (Big Ten Network)
Saturday, May 7 at Ohio State (BigTenNetwork.com)
Sunday, May 8 at Ohio State (Big Ten Network)
Friday, May 13 at Michigan (BigTenNetwork.com)
Saturday, May 14 vs. Michigan (Big Ten Network)