EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State softball team hosted Ohio State in the final game of the three game series on Sunday (April 1). The Spartans played tough against the Buckeyes, but ultimately fell 6-4. Michigan State is now 10-23 overall and 0-6 in the Big Ten.
"We competed very well today and that's all I care about," said head coach Jacquie Joseph. "I wanted to see a good pitching performance, I wanted to see my kids come excited to play and I wanted to see us fight until the bitter end. We did all of that today, so I'm happy."
Ohio State got on the board in the first with a two run homer by Alicia Herron, but MSU responded in the bottom of the inning with one run. Junior Kylene Hopkins kicked off the offense with a double down the left field line. Senior Brett Williams earned an RBI as she shot a double to right center, allowing Hopkins to score.
The next three innings went scoreless until an offensive explosion by both teams in the fifth. Four Buckeyes crossed home plate in the top of the inning, but Michigan State came within two runs as they scored three. The top of the order was at bat as senior Lori Padilla singled to center field. Hopkins got her third hit of the day with a single to second and both runners advanced off a sacrifice fly from Williams. A single by junior Mary Kate DiVirgilio brought in MSU's second run of the day and the third came home from a single by junior Jayme O'Bryant. At bat next was senior Ali Grant, who reached on a fielder 's choice and an error by the OSU second basemen allowed the final run for the Spartans.
Joseph was proud of her Spartan defense as they didn't commit a single error all day. Padilla and Hopkins each made spectacular plays in the outfield, both running to the fence for OSU outs in the fourth and sixth, respectively.
Sophomore Cassee Layne started in the circle for MSU and pitched for five innings. The right-hander earned four Ks, including three in a row in the top of the third. Freshman Carly Nielsen stepped in in the sixth to close out the game. Nielsen kept OSU from scoring again and only gave up one hit in two innings.
The Spartans will head to Mount Pleasant, Mich. for a mid-week tilt against the Chippewas on Wednesday (April 4). MSU and Central Michigan will face off at 4 p.m. ET at Varsity Softball Field.