Spartans outplay Badgers Softball in series opener
MADISON, Wis. -- A tough Michigan State softball team came ready to play Saturday afternoon, handing No. 25 Wisconsin its first loss in 10 games. The Spartans posted nine runs on nine hits to defeat the Badgers 9-4 at Goodman Diamond and take the first game in the Big Ten three-game series.
Michigan State (23-23 overall, 8-9 Big Ten) struck first in the top of the first inning with a pair of runs. After striking out the first MSU batter, Meghan McIntosh struck out McKinzie Freimuth, but Freimuth was able to reach base on a wild pitch. Freimuth and Kylene Hopkins would eventually find their way home, scoring a pair of unearned runs.
Wisconsin (38-10, 15-6) answered right back to Michigan State's offensive attack with four runs in the bottom of the inning. A leadoff walk by Mary Massei was followed by a Kendall Grimm single, putting runners in scoring position for Whitney Massey. Massey doubled to score the first two runs and Stephanie Peace homered to score the next two and give Wisconsin a 4-2 lead.
The Spartans came right back at the Badgers in the top of the second, scoring four runs on four hits and taking back the lead, 6-4. McIntosh was replaced by Taylor-Page Stewart, but the damage had been done.
Stewart recorded the next nine outs for the Badgers, allowing a pair of runs in the top of the fifth before being replaced by Cassandra Darrah.
MSU plated a run in the top of the seventh, taking a 9-4 lead over the Badgers. Wisconsin wasn't ready to give up. Massei led off the bottom of the seventh with a triple, but was left stranded at third when Kelly Smith was able to close out the inning with a pair of strikeouts and a fly out.
McIntosh suffered her fifth loss of the season, pitching 1.1 innings and allowing six runs, four earned, on four hits. Stewart recorded 3.0 innings of work, allowing two runs on three hits and Darrah pitched the final 2.2, allowing no earned runs on two hits.
Dani Goranson started the game for the Spartans, but was relieved by Smith after 1.1 innings of work. Goranson allowed four runs on three hits. Smith recorded 5.2 innings of work, holding the Badgers scoreless on four hits.
The Badgers and Spartans return to Goodman Diamond on Sunday for the final Big Ten games of the regular season. First pitch in the doubleheader is at noon.
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