May 7, 2010
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State softball team (20-28, 4-12 Big Ten) will face No. 2 Michigan (42-6, 14-1 Big Ten) in its lone home-and-home meeting of the year. The Spartans will travel to Ann Arbor, Mich., on Saturday for a 7 p.m. game, and return home on Sunday for a 1 p.m. at Old College Field. Sunday's game will mark the final game for the Spartans in their current stadium before getting a new venue in 2011.
NOTE: If Saturday's game is postponed due to inclement weather, Sunday's game will become a doubleheader in East Lansing.
Last Time Out
MSU fell in both games against No. 18 Illinois last weekend (May 1-2) at Old College Field. The Green and White were downed 11-1 in the first game and loss 5-0 in game two. Sophomore Lauren Kramer and junior Jessica Bracamonte highlighted the team offensively with both going 2-for-5 at the plate.
Michigan State trails the Wolverines in the all-time series, 67-27. Last season the Spartans split with Michigan in the two meetings between the two schools. MSU dropped the first game, and followed up with a 2-1 upset win on Senior Day.
The End of an Era
On May 10th, a day after the final home game of the 2010 season, construction crews will take to Old College Field to begin renovations of the new Spartan softball stadium. Completion of the stadium is expected for December of 2010, just in time for the first pitch of the 2011 season. The new 1,100-seat stadium will feature 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 with each featuring an added restroom at the end of each dugout.
Scouting the Spartans
Leading the Spartans at the plate is junior Lindsey Hansen with her .372 batting average. In 48 starts this season, Hansen leads the team, and the conference, with 17 doubles. Hansen's slugging percentage of .727 is currently fifth in the league, while her 105 total bases bring her in third. Freshman Kylene Hopkins leads the team on the base paths with 15 stolen bases.
Sophomore Lauren Kramer leads the pitching staff with a record of 15-16. Kramer, in 186.0 innings pitched (third most in the conference), has posted 164 strikeouts (fifth in the Big Ten). Kramer's 37 appearances rank her third in the Big Ten this season. The Spartan sophomore has started 28 games this season, the fourth-most in the conference.
Scouting the Wolverines
Maggie Viefhaus has certainly impressed this season for the 42-6 Wolverines. On the year, Viefhaus has recorded a .396 batting average along with 17 home runs. In the conference, Viefhaus has improved her batting average to .538. Michigan has a record of 14-1 in Big Ten contests this season.
Leading the way for Michigan on the rubber is Jordan Taylor. In 28 appearances this season, Taylor has an overall record of 22-3, going 9-1 in the conference. In 163.2 innings of work, Taylor has recorded 255 strikeouts, while limiting the opposition to a .160 batting average.
Head coach Carol Hutchins is in her 26th season at the helm of the Wolverines, posting a record of 1,146-399-4 while at U-M.
MSU will travel to Madison, Wis., for its regular season finale against Wisconsin. The Green and White will face the Badgers on Friday at 7 p.m. ET, and return to action Saturday at 1 p.m. ET.