EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State softball team opened the 2012 home schedule with a non-conference matchup against Butler on Thursday (March 29). MSU couldn't overcome a five run inning by the Bulldogs and fell 8-1. The Spartans are now 10-20 overall and 0-3 in the Big Ten.
"I'm disappointed in how we played today because I thought our infield played the tightest we have all year," said Head Coach Jacquie Joseph. "I was excited to play at home, but playing in our stadium presents its own challenges as well. We are looking forward to putting this game behind us as we host Ohio State in our conference home-opener this weekend."
Butler got on the board early, scoring one run in the second, then broke away with a five-run third inning. A series of singles loaded the bases and when Erin Falkenberry reached on a fielder's choice, the runner on third reached home safely. The third run for Butler came off a passed ball and the fourth when Kristen Boros singled to the shortstop. Alyssa Coleman was hit by a pitch, which allowed Falkenberry to score. A ground out to the shortstop was enough to score the final run of the inning for the Bulldogs.
Michigan State responded in the next half inning, scoring one run in a two-out rally. After the first two Spartan batters were out, freshman McKinzie Freimuth battled at the plate and was walked to first. Freimuth ran to second when the Bulldogs were distracted and then made it to third on a wild pitch. A single down the left field line by senior Lori Padilla brought Freimuth home and scored what proved to be the lone run for MSU.
Sophomore Cassee Layne was the starting pitcher for Michigan State and gave up one run until freshman Carly Nielsen took over in the middle of the third. The sophomore was able shake off her early-game mistakes as she returned to the circle at the end of the third, keeping the Bulldogs scoreless for the next three innings. Layne pitched for six innings in all, notching four Ks, only one walk and giving up four earned runs. Senior Rebecca Rogers was in the circle to close out the game, allowing only one hit in five batters faced.
Butler capped the matchup in the seventh, posting two more runs in their last offensive opportunity.
The Spartans will have to rebound quickly from this loss as they host Ohio State in a three-game series this weekend. The Big Ten home-opener begins with a double-header on Saturday (March 31) at 1 p.m. ET and concludes on Sunday (April 1) at 1 p.m.