Michigan State got a gem from pitcher Dani Goranson and a pair of three-hit efforts from freshman Ebonee Echols and junior Sarah Gutknecht as the Spartans downed Chattanooga, 4-0, to go 2-0 on the first day of the Holy City Showdown at the College of Charleston.
Goranson tossed a four-hitter in shutting out the Mocs, facing just 25 batters in the complete-game win. She had three strikeouts and did not walk any batters.
Echols hit her fourth triple of the year and scored twice with an RBI. Gutknecht had a pair of RBI, andCeleste Wood went 1-for-2 with an RBI for the Spartans, who are now 12-9 overall on the year.
Michigan State has two more games on Saturday, tangling with Columbia at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday before taking on No. 10/12 Georgia immediately following.
"There were a lot of good things for us to take away from today's two games. I thought we had a bumpy entry into our first game pitching-wise, but Kristina Zalewski settled in to finish really strong. Dani Goranson is coming around health-wise after having to miss most of last weekend because she was sick - but you never would have known it based on the way she controlled the game today. We got some timely hits, some big hits, and some players really step forward in their approach at the plate today, so it is a nice springboard for us headed into Saturday when we're going to play not only a top-10 team, but also a scrappy Columbia team that we played two weeks ago."
- Head Coach Jacquie Joseph
Ebonee Echols went 3-for-4, including a triple, an RBI, and a pair of stolen bases. Sarah Gutknecht went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI . Dani Goranson worked a very efficient four-hitter, striking out three and coaxing 13 fly-ball outs out of the Mocs on the afternoon.
STATS AND STORYLINES
Ebonee Echols got the Spartans going in the top of the first. She legged out an infield single, stole second, and Celeste Wood moved her over to third on a groundout. Echols came home on the two-out single by Gutknecht.
The Spartans came on again in the third, once again getitng an offensive spark from Echols. She led off the inning with a single, stole second, and moved to third on an infield hit by Celeste Wood; she came home on a single to right by Gutknecht for a 2-0 lead.
Echols generated another run for MSU in the top of the fourth, drilling a triple to the wall in center field to bring Destinee Luna home for a 4-0 lead. The Spartans stranded two in the inning, as Chattanooga got Gutknecht to fly out to center.
The Mocs finally broke through with a pair of base hits in the fourth inning to break up Goranson's no-hitter. She kept them at first and second and away from scoring, however, to keep her shutout alive through four innings.
Criket Blanco smacked a one-out double to left in the seventh, trying to get something going for the Mocs in their final at-bat. Goranson got Ashely Conner to ground out to third, and Katie Corum to line out to short to secure the win for the Spartans.