Spartans improve to 4-2 on season.  Photo courtesy of MSU SID.

Spartans improve to 4-2 on season. Photo courtesy of MSU SID.

 

FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Michigan State softball team (4-2) topped Saint Louis, 9-0, in five innings in MSU’s first game of the Homewood Suites/Hilton Garden Inn FGCU Tournament hosted by Florida Gulf Coast. Sophomore Jayme O’Bryant led MSU at the plate against the Billikens, going 3-for-3 with 3 RBIs and a run scored.

 

MSU’s scoring got started early in the game with a run in the first inning. Senior Jessica Bracamonte led off the Spartans’ half of the inning with a single up the middle. After a passed ball advanced Bracamonte, she found her way on third after sophomore Kylene Hopkins grounded out to the pitcher. Fellow senior Lindsey Hansen hit a sacrifice fly to left to score Bracamonte and give MSU its first run of the game. The Green and White recorded one run on one hit in the first.

 

Bracamonte once again led off the team in the top of the third, this time with a walk. Hopkins singled to left center to advance Bracamonte, however Bracamonte was thrown out at third by the left fielder. The throw to third brought Hopkins to second. Hansen reached base for the first time in the game off an error by the third baseman, moving Hopkins over to third. Following a Hansen stolen base, junior Brett Williams singled to right center to bring in both Hansen and Hopkins from second and third, respectively. Williams then moved to second on an error by the right fielder. A double by junior Ali Grant to left scored Williams from second to make the score 3-0. Grant was knocked in by O’Bryant when she singled to right center. The Spartans ended the inning with four runs scored on four hits.

 

SLU’s best scoring opportunity came in the top of the fourth when Kristain Burger doubled to center to lead off the inning. After Tori Holland struck out swimming, Kelsey Biggs advanced Burger to third with a grounder to second. Freshman pitcher Cassee Layne forced Jessica Van Norstrand to ground out to short to end the inning.

 

The Spartans put the game out of reach in the bottom half of the frame with another four-run inning. After MSU batted around the order in the third, Bracamonte led off the inning with another single up the middle. A walk by Hansen moved Bracamonte to second base with one out. Williams ripped in her third RBI of the game when she put the ball to right center for a double, driving in Bracamonte from second and moving Hansen to third. With two outs in the inning, O’Bryant recorded her second and third RBI of the contest when she singled up the middle to score Williams and Hansen from second and third, respectively. O’Bryant proceeded to second on the throw to the plate. Following a walk by both senior Heidi Purtzer and freshman Sarah Bowling, who was pinch hitting for sophomore Jenny Ramsaier, the Spartans found themselves with a bases loaded situation. Senior Karen Fox singled to left to drive in O’Braynt. MSU, however, was unable to score any additional runs and ended the fourth with four runs on four hits.

 

Layne captured the win for MSU, moving to 2-1 overall on the season. This marked her second shutout of the season and of her career. In 20 batters faced, Layne struck out three and allowed only two hits.

 

Julian Austin took the loss for Saint Louis and falls to 1-2 on the year. Austin allowed six runs, all of which were earned, on eight Spartan hits. Kelcie Matesa pitched 1.0 innings in relief and allowed three earned runs on three hits.

 

Michigan State continues action in Fort Myers, Fla., when it faces tournament host Florida Gulf Coast this evening (Feb. 18) at 8:15 p.m.