EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State softball squad opened the Big Ten home season with a double-header against Ohio State on Saturday (March 31). The Spartans dropped both games of the day, losing to the Buckeyes 9-4 and 14-1. MSU is now 10-22 on the season and 0-5 in the Big Ten.
Ohio State's one-run lead in the first expanded to six in the second as they scored five more runs. With the bases loaded, Alicia Herron was walked, which brought in OSU's second run. Two more came when Danielle LeBeau doubled down the right field line and the final two came off a single to left center by Evelyn Carrillo.
The Spartans composed themselves and didn't allow another hit until the sixth. The Buckeyes notched three runs when Carrillo homered to center field with two runners on.
The Michigan State offense got going in the next half-inning, scoring four runs, but it wasn't enough to overcome the deficit. Freshman Kelsey Cleary led off the inning with a single to the pitcher and senior Lori Padilla followed suit with a single to the shortstop. In the next at-bat junior Kylene Hopkins singled and a throwing error on OSU gave way to the first run for MSU. Sophomore Sarah Bowling pinch hit for senior Ali Grant and sent a double to right field, posting two RBI as Padilla and Hopkins reached home safely. The final run for the Spartans came off a single up the middle by senior Brett Williams.
Sophomore Cassee Layne was the starting pitcher for MSU, throwing for 2.2 innings. Layne earned two Ks in the first game, including striking out one batter looking while the bases were loaded in the second inning. Senior Rebecca Rogers and junior Shelby Wise also pitched in the first game of the day. Wise was in the circle for four innings, pitching out of a bases-loaded situation in the third and forcing the OSU batters to go in order in the fourth.
In the second game, MSU was down 2-0 going into the bottom of the second but kept the game close, scoring one run. Junior Jayme O'Bryant started the scoring by reaching first base on a fielding error. Freshman Alyssa McBride laid down a sacrifice bunt that allowed Cleary, who pinch ran for O'Bryant, to reach second. Bowling, who was pinch hitting for freshman McKinzie Freimuth, earned an RBI with a single up the middle.
Ohio State posted an eight-run inning in the third to put the game farther out of reach for MSU and the scoring was capped in the fourth with another two runs. Michigan State struggled to pick up the offense as the game ended 14-1 in the fifth.
In the second matchup, freshman Carly Nielsen was the starter for MSU and pitched for a total of four innings. Nielsen was given the loss, but Rogers and Wise also saw action in the circle.
The Spartans and Buckeyes will face off for the final game of the series tomorrow (April 1) at 1 p.m. in Secchia Stadium.