Spartan Softball Returns To Winning Ways Against Oakland

 

Spartans down the Golden Grizzlies, 5-4, in extras in game one; win 4-0 in the second.  Photo courtesy of MSU SID.
Spartans down the Golden Grizzlies, 5-4, in extras in game one; win 4-0 in the second. Photo courtesy of MSU SID.

EAST LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan State softball team (20-26, 4-10) posted a pair of wins over Oakland University (15-29) on Thursday, April 29, snapping its eight-game losing streak. The Spartans downed the Golden Grizzlies, 5-4, in extra innings in the first game, and continued their momentum to win the second game 4-0. Freshman Jayme O’Bryant led MSU offensively going 3-for-5 with a home run, a double and two RBIs.

 

“I was really happy with today,” said head coach Jacquie Joseph. “We needed to play well and I thought we put a good solid effort together in both games. This will certainly help going into the weekend series against Illinois.”

 

With the score tied at four after seven innings, junior Lindsey Hansen ended the game in the bottom of the eighth inning with a game winning blast to left center to win the game, 5-4.

 

“I hope this home run helps her going forward as we close out the season. What we need to do though is get more players in the offense, because we just aren't hitting and scoring enough runs right now to have a balanced attack,” Joseph said.

 

In game one, Oakland got on the board first in the top of the opening frame when Kelsey Krych made her way across home after stealing second and coming home, giving OU the 1-0 lead.

 

The Spartans got on the board for the first time in the bottom of the second when freshman Jayme O’Bryant knocked a home run to left field, tying the game at one run each.

 

The Golden Grizzlies responded in the top of the third with an additional run when Leah DiCristofaro doubled to score Danielle Peters from second, giving OU the 2-1 advantage.

 

After two MSU scoreless innings, the Green and White once again tied the game when freshman Mary Kate DiVirgilio recorded her second-career homer with a shot to center field.

 

Each team posted a pair of runs in their respective half of the sixth inning. Oakland tallied its runs when Peters squeaked a single up the middle to bring across Dani Dulberg. The Golden Grizzlies' additional run was scored when Marisa Everitt hit a sacrifice fly to right, driving in Krych who tagged up at third.

 

The Spartans responded in the bottom half of the inning when junior Jessica Bracamonte grounded out at first, scoring freshman Kylene Hopkins from third. Sophomore Lauren Kramer tied the game with ground out to the pitcher which brought Hansen in from third.

 

Kramer (14-14) tossed 2.1 innings of work to post the win for the Spartans in game one. Everitt (5-8) tossed 7.0 innings in the loss for OU.

 

MSU kept its momentum from the first game rolling as it began the second game. Kramer (15-14) took the ball for the Green and White and tossed 7.0 innings of shut-out ball. Kramer struck out nine batters and allowed only five OU hits.

 

In the first two innings, Kramer had already posted five strikeouts.

 

“It was great to see Lauren pick up the win in both games today. I thought she maintained her intensity and energy and really pitched well in the second game,” Joseph noted.

 

The Spartans used a two-run third inning to power past Oakland in game two. With runners on first and third, sophomore Kalie Lamb stole second as the OU catcher attempted to throw out Bracamonte at third, however the third baseman was unable to handle the ball cleanly as both Lamb and Bracamonte scored on the play.

 

MSU tacked on insurance runs in the fifth and sixth innings with one run each inning. O’Bryant posted her second RBI of the game in the fifth when she double to drive in Kramer from second. Junior Heidi Purtzer knocked in the final Michigan State run of the day when she hit a grounded out at third to score junior Karen Fox.

 

Brittany Doyle (9-13) went 5.1 innings for Oakland in the loss. Doyle allowed four runs, two of which were earned, on seven hits.

 

The Spartans will host No. 22 Illinois to close out the week on Saturday and Sunday (May 1-2). MSU will take on the Fighting Illini (35-5, 8-2 Big Ten) on Saturday, May 1, with the game scheduled to begin at 12:15 p.m. This game will be aired live on the Big Ten Network. The following day, Sunday, the two teams will square off with at game set to begin at 1 p.m. Both games will be contested at Old College Field.

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