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Spartans Start Hot, but Overtaken By OSU In Series Opener

Posted: 11:35 PM, Apr 19, 2019
Updated: 2019-04-20 03:37:44Z
MSU softball

EAST LANSING, Mich. — SPARTAN SYNOPSIS

Ohio State scored 12 runs in the final three innings to post a 15-6 win (six innings) over Michigan State on Friday at Secchia Stadium.

The Spartans (15-26, 3-10 B1G) scored five runs in the first inning – three off starter Lauren Rice, but found runs harder to come by with the entry of staff ace Morgan Ray. Ray gave up a two –run homer to Kaitlyn Eveland, but then only one more run over the balance of the game, striking out 13 and walking four in six innings of work.

Offensively, the Buckeyes (27-14, 10-5 B1G) got a 4-for-4 effort from Emily Clark, who had five RBI to lead her squad. Kallie Boren was 2-for-3 with a three-run homer, and Ashley Prange was 3-for-5 on the afternoon.

For MSU, Caitie Ladd had a pair of doubles in the game and two RBI, while Eveland’s two-run homer also gave her a pair of RBI on the day. Charla Echols had a base hit and an RBI, and MacKenzie Meech also picked up a base hit. The Spartans used all four pitchers in the game – reliever McKenna Gregory took the loss (4-9).

The Spartans and Ohio State continue their three-game Big Ten series this weekend on Saturday morning, when first pitch between the teams is at 11 am in a game that will air live on the Big Ten Network. Senior Ebonee Echols will be honored with her Senior Day before the game, and it will be MSU’s Strike Out Cancer game.

TOP PERFORMERS

· Kaitlyn Eveland hit her seventh home run of the season, and had two RBI

· Caitie Ladd had a pair of doubles (her 12th and 13th of the season) and two RBI

· Charla Echols was 1-of-2 with an RBI and a pair of walks.

STATS AND STORYLINES

· Michigan State’s first-inning offense continued for the fourth straight game. Melanie Baccay was hit by a pitch, and came around to score on a Charla Echols shot up the left field line. MacKenzie Meech singled up the middle to move Charla Echols to second, and the duo advanced into scoring position on a wild pitch. Caitie Ladd doubled into the gap in right center to score two more for a 3-0 lead, and Kaitlyn Eveland jacked one over the wall in center to push the Spartan advantage out to 5-0.

· Leah Shipp came into the game with two on via walk and one out in the top of the third, and Kallie Boren greeted her with a three-run shot to center field to make it a 5-3 ballgame.

· In the third, Walker returned to the circle and gave up a walk and a double, then made way for McKenna Gregory. An error allowed Bri Betschel to reach safely and load the bases. Lilli Piper came to the plate and drew a walk to bring a run across, and then Emily Clark singled through the right side to plate two more for a 6-5 advantage. Gregory struck out Boren, but as she was working on the next batter, the Buckeyes executed a double steal and Piper came home to make it an 8-5 ballgame. Ashley Prange and Niki Carver put up back-to-back singles for a pair of runners, but Gregory got a fielder’s choice and a fly ball to end the inning.

· The Spartans got something going in the home half of the fourth. Melanie Baccay deposited a one-out double into left field, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and then had Charla Echols join her the basepaths when she drew a walk, her second of the game. Another wild pitch by Ray scored Baccay from third to make it a two-run ballgame.

· Ohio State got the run back in the top of the fifth. A base hit by Spencer Sansom started off the inning, and back-to-back walks to Betschel and Piper loaded the bases with none out. A double by Emily Clark brought three runs home for the visitors, making it 11-6. That also signaled the end of the outing for Gregory, as Jordan Watson entered in the circle. Watson walked Boren and gave up a single to left to Prange and after a popup, another single to Kaityn Coffman, both RBI singles that made it 13-6.

· Lilli Piper hit a homer to left in the top of the sixth with one out to make it 14-6, putting the Spartans in danger of the run rule. Three straight singles after Pipers homer loaded the bases for Ohio State, but a sac fly and error turned into Boren being thrown out at third for the third out of the inning – but it left the Buckeyes with a 15-6 lead.

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