TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Michigan State softball (3-0) held off stiff competition late in the day en route to picking up a pair of wins in day two at Florida State’s Seminole Classic in Tallahassee, Fla. MSU run-ruled Bethune-Cookman with a 14-2, five-inning victory early in the afternoon, and went on to defeat Jacksonville, 6-5, in the later game. The Spartans will continue action tomorrow at 11 a.m. against host FSU at JoAnne Graf Field.
Shae Bass made her collegiate debut on the mound against Bethune-Cookman Saturday morning and pitched three of the five earnings to earn her first win; Bass allowed one run on two hits while striking out four batters in 11 at bats. After walking the first batter, Bass recorded her first collegiate strike out, as BCU’s Tameika Jones went down swinging on a 2-2 count. Against Jacksonville, Bass returned to the rubber and threw her first complete game, where she tallied two additional strike outs.
In the morning game against BCU, the Spartans broke out in the first inning with two runs, then followed up with five in each of the second and third innings. Tacking on two runs in the fourth, Michigan State closed out game one of the second day at the Seminole Classic with a 14-2 routing of BCU. Caitlin Mahoney paced the team with four RBI, while Gina Mondo crossed the plate three times to lead the team’s scoring. Four additional Spartans scored twice, including Nikki Nicosia, Kara Weigle, Bianca Mejia and Mahoney; Nicosia, Weigle and Mejia batted in two runs a piece.
Megan Hair took the mound in the fourth to close out the game for Michigan State, and Lindsey Hansen took over for Mondo at second base, making her first appearance in the Green and White. Hansen tallied three outs in the final two innings.
Against Jacksonville, the Spartans continued to roll, putting three runs on the board in the first inning to take the early lead. But the Dolphins rallied in the bottom of the third to claim a 5-3 advantage. A scoreless fourth inning left MSU hustling for runs - and they came in the fifth. With one out, Weigle and Mejia singled to put base runners on first and second, and Lincoln came in to pinch run for Mejia. A caught foul ball at first base put the Spartans in a pinch with two outs, but Traci Nicosia stepped in and crushed the ball to left-center field on the next at bat, driving both Weigle and Lincoln to even the score, 5-5. Jacksonville managed to control the damage and get out of inning only allowing the two runs, but the Dolphins failed to generate sufficient offense in the fifth and sixth to score any runs.
Jessica LeFevre led off for MSU in the top of the seventh inning, and roped a single to third for an essential base hit. Next, Nikki Nicosia’s successful bunt put runners at first and second, including the potential game-winning run in scoring position. Weigle then approached the plate, and laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to advance Nicosia to second and LeFevre to third. And on the next pitch, Mejia cranked out a single, driving in what would hold on to be the game-winning RBI as LeFevre stepped on home plate.
The top of the seventh closed with Michigan State ahead 6-5 as the Dolphins attempted to force their way back in the game and possible extra innings. Kayla Ouellet got on first, but the excitement was fleeting for Jacksonville as its next batter was called out for interference. Next, Weigle and Mejia stepped up to inch the Spartans closer to victory with a catcher-to-short stop rocket throw to catch Ouellet stealing. With two outs, Patricia Melo grounded to third, and Traci Nicosia made a routine play to Heidi Purtzer at first for the game’s final out.
Traci Nicosia lead the Spartans against Jacksonville with three RBI, while Purtzer batted in two. Additionally, the Nicosia sisters, Mejia and LeFevre each roped out two hits, helping Michigan State remain undefeated in 2008.