Spartans play UM in home-and-home series to close season. Photo courtesy of MSU athletic communications.

EAST LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan State softball team (27-25, 6-12 Big Ten) closes outs its regular season with a home-and-home series with No. 2 Michigan this weekend, May 13-14. Saturday’s contest against UM will be the Spartans’ Secchia Stadium dedication game with the Secchia’s and special guests on hand for a pre-game ceremony. Game one on Friday will begin at 7 p.m. at Wilpon Complex in Ann Arbor Mich., with audio streamed live at SpartanSportsNetwork.com. The following day, MSU will face the Wolverines at 1:05 p.m. at Secchia Stadium. Saturday’s contest will be carried live by the Big Ten Network. Lisa Byington (play-by-play) and Heather Lyke (color analyst) will provide coverage on Sunday.

Series History…
MSU trails in the all-time series to the Wolverines, 69-27. The Spartans lost in both contests against Michigan last year, 10-0 and 4-1. MSU has faced Michigan in a home-and-home series in each of the past four seasons.

Last Time Out…
MSU used a spark from junior
Lori Padilla in game two to split its doubleheader with Purdue at Secchia Stadium in East Lansing on Wednesday, May 11. After dropping game one, 5-0, the Spartans rallied for a 3-2 win in the second game, after trailing 2-0 early on. Senior Karen Fox led the Spartans with a 3-for-5 performance at the plate against the Boilermakers.

Spartan Scouting Report…
Senior
Lindsey Hansen leads the Spartans with her .412 batting average and her Big Ten leading 20 home runs and 139 total bases. Hansen also currently leads the team on the base path with 22 stolen bases and in slugging with a .908 mark. Hansen also leads the team in assists (139) and extra base hits (31).

Leading the Spartans on the rubber is freshman Cassee Layne. Layne enters the weekend with a team-high 180.1 innings of work. Layne is 15-15 on the year and boasts an ERA of 2.95. Layne has held the opposition to a .259 batting average on the year. On the year, Layne has 122 strikeouts.

Wolverine Scouting Report…
Michigan is ranked No. 2 in both the USA Today/NFCA poll and the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll with a record of 49-4. Amanda Chidester leads the Wolverines at the plate with a .421 batting average. Ashley Lane is the top slugger for Michigan with her .750 slugging percentage and 16 home runs and 60 RBIs.

Jordan Taylor is the top pitcher for the Wolverines with her 1.36 ERA and 27-3 record. Taylor has tallied 205.1 innings of work and has struck out 282 batters, while limiting the opponent to a .181 batting average.

Secchia Stadium Dedication…
The Spartans will dedicate the new Secchia Stadium at home against Michigan this Saturday, May 14. The dedication ceremony with the Secchia family and special guests is scheduled to begin at 11:55 a.m. on the infield.

Construction crews took to the field at the conclusion of the 2010 season to complete the renovation of Old College Field. The new 1,100-seat stadium features 120 chair back seats, a new press box, backstops, and handicap-accessible seating with brick accents to architecturally match the façade of historic Jenison Field House and the indoor hitting and pitching facility. Prior to the start of the 2010 season, home and visiting dugouts were constructed in-ground and feature an added restroom at the end of each dugout. In recognition of a $1 million gift from alumnus Ambassador Peter F. Secchia, the Michigan State University Board of Trustees voted unanimously on Sept. 17 to approve the naming of the new softball facility Secchia Stadium. Secchia’s donation is the largest cash (outright) gift received by an MSU women’s intercollegiate sports program.

Senior Day…
Prior to Saturday’s contest, MSU will honor its four seniors –
Jessica Bracamonte, Karen Fox, Lindsey Hansen and Heidi Purtzer – for their dedication to the Spartan softball program over the last four years.

Bracamonte has been a four year starter in the Spartan outfield. She is a sociology major from Hacienda Heights, Calif., and has been a vocal leader for the Spartans, starting all but one of the 166 games she has appeared in.

Fox has appeared in 149 games in her career, including 84 starts. Fox is a community relations major from Flushing, Mich. The 2011 season has been Fox’s best season as a Spartan in hits, total bases and runs scored.

Hansen ends her career as a Spartan ranking first in several offensive categories, including career home runs and extra base hits. Hansen is a human resources major from Valparaiso, Fla., and this year she has set the single-season records in home runs, RBIs, runs scored and extra base hits. Hansen has appeared in 197 games in her career including 163 straight starts.

Purtzer has led the team in putouts each of her four seasons as a Spartan. She is a human resources major from Scottsdale, Ariz. This season she has totaled her career best in runs scored while appearing in a career-high 48 games. Throughout her career, Purtzer has appeared in 172 contests, starting 147 of them.

Freshman Success…
Freshman
Cassee Layne has been a stable force for the Spartans within the circle this season. Layne impressed in her MSU debut as she became the first Spartan to pitch a complete game shutout since 1982. Layne pitched the Green and White to a 2-0 win over Boston College during the first game of the season.

Player of the Week…
Senior
Lindsey Hansen earned conference Player of the Week status on March 7 after hitting a .750 clip and knocking in 11 runs to help Michigan State to a 3-1 record the week of Feb. 28-March 6. The senior shortstop had three multi-hit and multi-RBI games in finishing 9 for 12 from the plate for the week, including a 4-for-4 performance against Seton Hall in which she hit her 31st career home run. Hansen drove in four against the Pirates after driving in three each against Providence and South Carolina, also stealing two bases. She scored seven runs and finished with an OPS of 2.369 in earning her second career weekly honor.

Freshman Cassee Layne earned Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week honors on Feb. 21 following her performance at the Homewood Suites/Hilton Garden Inn Tournament. Layne took home honors after throwing two complete game shutouts for Michigan State on the weekend. Allowing just one earned run in 15.1 innings pitched, Layne finished the week with a 0.46 ERA and 12 strikeouts, walking just four in the process. She pitched seven shutout innings in a 1-0 win over Villanova and five scoreless in a 9-0 shortened game against Saint Louis.

Big Ten Rankings…
Individually, senior
Lindsey Hansen is tops in the conference in home runs (20), assists (139) and total bases (139). Hansen also ranks second in runs scored (53), slugging percentage (.908) and sacrifice flies (3). Junior Brett Williams also ranks among the conference leaders in several categories. Williams is fourth in home runs (13), total bases (101) and RBIs (52).

Home Run Queen…
Senior
Lindsey Hansen became MSU’s all-time home run leader when she blasted her 32nd career home run against Florida Atlantic on Sunday, March 13 in Boca Raton, Fla. On Wednesday, April 13, Hansen solidified herself as MSU’s home run queen as she recorded her 14th homer of the season, becoming the school’s single-season home run leader. Hansen currently has 42 homers in her career and 20 on the season. Hansen’s season total currently ranks her first in the conference and fourth in the nation. Hansen’s 2010 total ranks fifth (11) in program history while her 2009 total is tied for sixth (10). Against Central Michigan on Tuesday, April 26, Hansen tied MSU’s single-game home run record with her two blasts against the Chippewas.

Softball To Air On SpartanSportsNetwork.com…
Selected Michigan State softball games will be broadcast for free this spring on spartansportsnetwork.com.

In addition to the free audio stream on spartansportsnetwork.com, the games will also be available on the free Spartan Sports Network Mobile App. In the fall, Spartan Sports Network teamed up with JacAPPS to have the app available for the iPhone, iPad and Android devices. The application features live streaming of Michigan State broadcasts, along with coaches shows, feature programming, highlights, archives, social connectivity and more.

The app is free and available for download from the iTunes store and Android Marketplace. Simply search Spartan Sports Network.

To listen to the games on spartansportsnetwork.com, simply click on the appropriate game link on the main page in the “Spartan Sports 24/7 Box”, located on the right-side of the page, or click on the “Spartan Sports 24/7” link at the top of the site.

The Spartans On Television…
The Spartans will have three games broadcast by the network during the 2011 season. In addition, MSU will have five contests streamed live on the BigTenNetwork.com.

TENTATIVE BROADCAST SCHEDULE
Sunday, April 10 at Iowa (BigTenNetwork.com)
Wednesday, April 13 at Northwestern (BigTenNetwork.com)
Wednesday, April 13 at Northwestern (BigTenNetwork.com)
Sunday, May 1 at Minnesota (Big Ten Network)
Saturday, May 7 at Ohio State (BigTenNetwork.com)
Sunday, May 8 at Ohio State (Big Ten Network)
Friday, May 13 at Michigan (BigTenNetwork.com)
Saturday, May 14 vs. Michigan (Big Ten Network)