MADISON, Wis. – Michigan State softball downed Wisconsin, 9-4, in the first game of the series. The Spartans scored runs in four innings and junior Kelly Smith struck out nine batters in 5 2/3 innings pitched. MSU improved its record to 23-23 on the season, 8-9 in Big Ten play.
The Spartans put the first runs on the board in top of the first inning to take a 2-0 lead. Junior Sarah Bowling reached first on an error by Wisconsin’s second baseman to advance senior Kylene Hopkins and sophomore McKinzie Freimuth across the plate.
In the bottom of the first, Wisconsin (38-10, 15-6) responded with four runs to take the lead, 4-2.
Michigan State answered with four runs of its own in the top of the second inning, 6-4. Hopkins singled to shortstop to send sophomore Alyssa McBride home. Senior Jayme O’Bryant was next to bat with a double to center field to notch two RBIs. O’Bryant earned a run off of Bowling’s single to left field.
After the third and fourth inning went scoreless, MSU tallied two more runs in the top of the fifth inning. Senior Jenny Ramsaier and sophomore Ellie Stoffer were sent across the plate from pinch hitter sophomore Stephanie Sanders’ double to left field.
The Spartans earned their final run in the top of the seventh. Stoffer crossed the plate for the second time as O’Bryant walked to first with the bases loaded.
Sharing time on the mound were Smith (17-14) and freshman Dani Goranson. Goranson allowed four runs, all earned.
O’Bryant went 1-for-2 and earned three RBIs to lead the Green and White. Bowling and Sanders both notched two RBIs, while Hopkins registered one.
The Spartans and Badgers will face off on Sunday, May 5, in a doubleheader. Game one will begin at 1 p.m. ET and game two at 3 p.m. ET.