Spartans top Eastern Michigan, 9-1; Loyola, 8-3.  Photo courtesy of MSU SID.

Spartans top Eastern Michigan, 9-1; Loyola, 8-3. Photo courtesy of MSU SID.

 

 

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The Michigan State softball team (17-10) closed out its tournament schedule with a pair of wins on Sunday, March 20 to end the Hoosier Classic in Bloomington, Ind., undefeated. The Spartans opened the day strong with a 9-1 win over Eastern Michigan before downing Loyola, 8-3. With the pair of wins, MSU is now on a seven-game win streak, its longest streak since 2006 when the Spartans won seven straight from March 4 to March 9. Junior Brett Williams led all Spartans on the day at the plate while batting .600 with two homers and a 1.800 slugging mark.

 

After a scoreless first, MSU struck in the second as Williams scored the first run off a wild pitch to take the 1-0 lead.

 

The lead moved to 4-0 as the Spartans recorded three additional runs in the fourth. Senior Lindsey Hansen led off the inning with a double to left center. Junior Lauren Kramer followed with a single through the right side to score Hansen. Williams blasted her first home run of the day with a two-run shot to right, scoring freshman Samantha Findling, who was running for Kramer.

 

Stacie Skodinski scored the lone EMU run in the bottom of the fourth when she hit a solo homer to left field to make it a 4-1 contest.

 

The Spartans put the game out of reach in the fifth inning with their final five runs of the game. Sophomore Mary Kate DiVirgilio knocked in the first run with a single to left to score senior Karen Fox who reached base with a lead-off triple.

 

Hansen hit a three-run homer to left center to also score sophomore Kylene Hopkins and junior Lori Padilla.  Two batters later, Williams hit her second homer of the day when she put the ball over the right-center field fence for the fifth run of the inning to give MSU the 9-1 advantage.

 

Freshman Cassee Layne earned her seventh win of the season as she tossed a complete 5.0 innings game. Layne struck out five and only allowed one earned run on four hits.

 

Lauren Wells earned her first loss of the season in her 3.2 innings of work. Wells allowed four earned runs on six hits while recording five strikeouts. Jillian Williamson pitched the final 1.1 innings of the contest and allowed five earned runs on five hits.

 

The Spartans’ bats continued in the first three innings of their game against Loyola as seven runs were tallied combined, with at least a run each.

 

Padilla scored for the first in the opening frame after Kramer reached base on a fielding error at second.

 

Two more runs were tallied in the second when Hopkins singled to score both senior Heidi Purtzer and Findling.

 

The most productive of the three innings was the third when MSU netted four runs. Sophomore Jayme O’Bryant drove in the first with a single to first to score Williams. Padilla knocked in two additional runs with a single up the middle, scoring Purtzer and O’Bryant. Hansen singled up the middle for the final run of the inning with Padilla crossing home.

 

MSU ended the span of the first three innings with a 7-1 lead. The Ramblers’ run was scored with Jenna Grim hit a solo homer to left field.

 

Loyola brought the score to 7-3 with two more runs in the fourth. Lauren Moore hit the second Rambler homer of the day with a shot to left center to also score Brooke Andresen.

 

The Green and White capped off the score against Loyola with O’Bryant hitting a single up the middle to drive home junior Melanie Bensema.

 

Sophomore Shelby Wise (3-1) earned the win for MSU as she pitched 4.0 innings in relief. Wise allowed one hit while striking out four batters. Kramer took the start for the Spartans, pitching the first 3.0 innings of the contest. Kramer allowed three runs, two earned, on three hits. Kramer also recorded five strikeouts.

 

Seana Stillson was the pitcher of record for Loyola as she falls to 1-3 on the season. In 6.0 innings of work, Stillson allowed eight runs, three earned, and struck out three battlers against 12 Spartan hits.

 

The Spartans travel to Valparaiso, Ind., on Friday, March 25 before facing Illinois on the road for their Big Ten opener. MSU battles the Fighting Illini in Champaign, Ill., Saturday-Sunday, March 26-27 with both games starting at 3 p.m. ET.