COLUMBUS, Ohio - Caitlin Mahoney's two home runs drove in all five of Michigan State's runs, as the Spartan softball team completed the weekend sweep at No. 24 Ohio State, 5-3. With the win, head coach Jacquie Joseph recorded her 600th career win, and now owns a 600-520-1 overall mark, including her 464-387-1 record at MSU. The Spartans improve to 19-15 overall and 4-2 in Big Ten action, while Ohio State drops to 23-12 overall and 2-4 in conference play.
"It's really about the success of our team. To sweep a ranked Ohio State team is a huge weekend for us, and the win is a team effort," said Joseph when asked about reaching the 600-win milestone. "But to be in coaching for 20 years is a long time, and the game has changed so much. So it really is an honor to be coaching in my 20th season, and to reach 600 wins feels great."
Mahoney's first homer in the top of the third, a three-run homer over the left-field fence, scored Biana Mejia, who was intentionally walked, and Jessica LeFevre, who bunted safely to first. In the top of the sixth, Mahoney's bomb to left-center field scored Abby Lincoln, who was pinch running for Mejia, who walked. The pair of dingers are the senior's fourth and fifth this season, her 22nd and 23rd of her career.
Nikki Nicosia had a pair of hits, while Gina Mondo and LeFevre each had one to account for the rest of MSU's six hits.
From the circle, Lesley Noel pitched 6.2 innings, improving to 11-9 this season. Noel allowed just one run while striking out four.
The Buckeyes pulled back into the game with a two-run single in the bottom of the fourth, as Tory Haddad dropped the ball into shallow center. Runners on second and third rounded the bases to score, and Hadded advanced to second on the throw. Whitney Cooper followed with a single, moving Haddad to third, but Brittany Goodchild put a ground ball right to Mondo, who tagged Cooper out while running to second base.
In the bottom of the seventh, Brittany Vanderink hit an RBI double to right center, closing MSU's gap to 5-3. Coach Joseph made a change on the mound, bringing in freshman Shae Bass, who finished the game as Ohio State flied out to Lindsey Hansen in left field.
With Sunday off, the Spartans will return to action on Wednesday, April 9, hosting Western Michigan at 4 p.m.