MSU SOFTBALL: UIC's seventh-inning rally sinks Spartans

MSU Softball 2016.  Photo courtesy of the MSU SID.
MSU Softball 2016. Photo courtesy of the MSU SID.


Illinois-Chicago rallied for three runs with two outs in the top of the seventh inning, propelling the Flames to a 7-6 win over Michigan State in the final game at the Hoosier Classic. UIC (13-9) avenged a 4-3 Spartan win in the first weekend of the season with the come-from-behind victory.

Kristina Zalewski (6-7) started the game and tossed the final two innings in relief, and allowed three unearned runs - all with two outs in the top of the seventh - as UIC rallied from a 5-4 deficit in its final at-bat. MSU got one run back on an RBI single by Celeste Wood, but couldn't gain the equalizer.

Ebonee Echols had three hits, tying her career best. Wood and McKenzie Long each went 2-for-4 on the day, with Wood totaling three RBI and Long two.

Michigan State (16-12) travels to Notre Dame for a Wednesday non-conference tilt before hosting Wisconsin for a three-game series to open Big Ten play.


"The pitchers had worked out of jams all day, as we got UIC to leave 12 runners - but we committed an error with two outs in the sevnth and let UIC back into it. We had been pretty good all year in tight ballgames, so it's disappointing. We didn't have the weekend we wanted to have by any stretch of the imagination. <

We no longer have the luxury of a day off followed by a couple of days of practice to work on things. We will play four straight days this week after just one day of practice - we need to get our bodies and our minds right in order to come out strong against a nationally-ranked Notre Dame team. We also need to come out strong in our Big Ten opening series, and we will see if we are up to the challenge after a quick turnaround."

- Head Coach Jacquie Joseph


Celeste Wood went 2-for-4 with a double and three RBI. Ebonee Echols went 3-for-4 with a double and a stolen base. McKenzie Long had a pair of RBI in her 2-for-4 performance. Kristina Zalewski both started and finished the game, and took the loss (6-7). She tossed 5.1 innings, scattering 10 hits and walking four, striking out six.


Shanin Thomas reached on an error in the bottom of the third, serving as MSU's first baserunner in the game.Lindsey Besson came on as a pinch hitter and hit a sac fly to right, plating Thomas for the game's first run. Lea Foerster doubled, bringing on a pitching change for the Flames - Alice Fitzpatrick relieved Bridget Boyle. Boyle was greeted with an infield single by Echols, which moved Foerster to third with two out for Celeste Wood. Wood doubled down the left field line to score both Foerster and Echols for a 3-0 Spartan lead. Fitzpatrick hit Kujawa to put two on, and Long followed with a double to plate two more runs before the Flames could get out of the inning.

Zalewski allowed four hits and walked two in the first three innings, stranding six baserunners as she got out of jams in both the second and third frames. In the fourth, back-to-back singles followed by a double by Taylor Cairns left two runners in scoring position and cut the Spartan lead to 5-1 without an out. an infield single and an error led to two more runs and MSU's lead shrunk to 5-3. Hannah Shuler made her collegiate debut when she relieved Zalewski with two on and just one out, but back-to-back walks brought home a fourth run. Dani Goranson entered in relief and got a pair of big outs to preserve the Spartan lead.

Laura Swan drew a leadoff walk for UIC in the top of the sixth, at which point Zalewski re-entered the game. A wild pitch and ground ball moved Swan to third, but Zalewski coaxed a ground ball out from Skylee James and got Dana Capocci to line out to strand the tying run at third base.

Zalewski got the first two outs in the top of the seventh, getting Claire Crane to ground out and striking out pinch hitter Jasmine Willis to strike out swinging. She walked Cairns and allowed a single to LaRi Mitchell, who both advanced into scoring position on a wild pitch. Lexi Watts then reached on an error, tying the game 5-5 with two outs. Swan stepped in and doubled to give UIC its first lead of the game, 7-5. Zalewski got Tiana Mack-Miller to pop out to finally end the inning.

The top of the order did its best in the bottom of the frame. Pinch hitter Jacquie Reiser drew a leadoff walk, but was erased when Foerster reached on a fielder's choice. Echols and Wood reached on consecutive singles, with Wood's bringing Foerster home to cut the deficit to one. Fitzpatrick got Kujawa to line out to left and Long to ground out to end the game.