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Softball Welcomes No. 18 Illinois for Big Ten Showdown

April 30, 2010

EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State softball team (20-26, 4-10 Big Ten) closes out the week with a weekend series against No. 18 Illinois. MSU will host the Fighting Illini (35-5, 8-2 Big Ten) on Saturday, May 1, with the game scheduled to begin at 12:15 p.m. This game will be aired live on the Big Ten Network. The following day, Sunday, the two teams will square off with a game set to begin at 1 p.m. Both games will be contested at Old College Field.

Series History...
Against Illinois, MSU is 6-11 in the all-time series. Last season the two teams were scheduled to play two games at Illinois, but due to weather, they were only able to complete one game in which the Fighting Illini won, 13-3.

Last Time Out...
MSU posted a pair of wins over Oakland University on Thursday, April 29, snapping its eight-game losing streak. The Spartans downed the Golden Grizzlies, 5-4, in extra innings in the first game, and continued their momentum to win the second game 4-0. Freshman Jayme O'Bryant led MSU offensively going 3-for-5 with a home run, a double and two RBIs. Junior Lindsey Hansen ended the first game in the bottom of the eighth inning with a game winning blast to left center to win the game, 5-4.

StrikeOut Breast Cancer...
The Michigan State softball team will wear pink uniforms in Saturday's game against Illinois in its annual StrikeOut Breast Cancer. All ticket proceeds from the game will benefit the Mid-Michigan affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Foundation and help in the research of breast cancer.

The "StrikeOut" Cancer initiative unites the American Cancer Society and the National Fastpitch Coaches Association to help raise funds and awareness to fight cancer. The program leverages the personal experiences, community leadership, and professional excellence of fastpitch softball coaches nationwide to help increase cancer education and promote healthy living through awareness efforts and fundraising activities.



Spartan Scouting Report...
Junior Lindsey Hansen leads the Spartans with her .381 batting average and her Big Ten leading 16 doubles. Hansen currently is fourth in the conference with 103 total bases. Junior Jessica Bracamonte is currently tabbed third in the conference with four triples this season. Freshman Kylene Hopkins currently leads the team on the base path with 15 stolen bases.

Leading the Spartans on the rubber is sophomore Lauren Kramer. Kramer enters the weekend with a 15-14 record and 2.71 ERA. Kramer has held the opposition to a .243 batting average on the year. In 175.2 innings of work, Kramer has recorded 155 strikeouts. Kramer is fourth in the conference in both innings pitched (175.2) and total appearances (35).

Fighting Illini Scouting Report...
Illinois currently sits at 35-5 overall on the season and is ranked 18th in the latest USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 poll. The Fighting Illini are led offensively by Meredith Hackett who is has a .422 batting average and slugging with a .793 mark. Hackett also has tallied 10 homers and 92 total bases. Danielle Zymkowitz leads the team with 32 stolen bases in 33 attempts.

Monica Perry leads Illinois within the circle this season. Perry held the opposing batters to a .232 batting average in 138.1 innings pitched. Perry boasts a record of 18-4 and has started 22 games. Pepper Gay posts the team's best ERA (1.64) in 23 total appearances. Gay boasts a record of 12-1 in 81.0 innings of work.

Next Up...
The Spartans will play a home-and-home series against in-state rival Michigan. The weekend will begin on Saturday, May 8 with a 7 p.m. game in Ann Arbor. The following day, Sunday, May 9, the Spartans will host the Wolverines for a 1 p.m. match-up at Old College Field. Sunday's game will also be MSU's last home game of the season.

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