MSU broke up a 3-3 tie with a single run in both the fifth and seventh innings to earn a 5-3 victory over Memphis on Sunday afternoon. The Spartans had strong outings from both Dani Goranson and Kristina Zalewski, combining on a four-hitter of the Tigers that closed out the weekend on a strong note.
The teams combined for five errors (two for the Spartans). Zalewski tossed the final three innings, getting her first six outs via strikeout, and enticed three straight ground balls in the seventh.
MSU finished its opening weekend with a 4-1 record, and head to Arizona State next weekend for five more games at the Longwood Classic.
“We left some runs out there on the basepaths today, but we also are in our first weekend, and trying out a lot of lineups and combinations. We talked about getting better each time we go out. This weekend exposed some things that we really want to work on, but we also saw growth and improvement. We’re looking forward to getting back to practice and ready to attack our schedule next weekend.”
— Head Coach Jacquie Joseph
Sarah Gutknecht went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI, a run scored, and a double.
Ebonee Echols and Lea Foerster each finished the day with a pair of hits. Foerster went 2-for-4 with a double and a pair of runs scored, while Echols had a standup triple and a double in her 2-for-4 effort.
Dani Goranson got her second start of the season, going four innings and allowing three hits, walking three, and striking out two. She left with a 4-3 lead for her first win of the season.
Zalewski entered the game with one on in the fifth, and struck out six of the 11 batters she faced to earn her second save of the weekend.
STATS AND STORYLINES
MSU manufactured three runs in the top of the first, starting with a leadoff triple by Ebonee Echols and a standup double by Sarah Gutknecht that hit the bottom of the wall in center. The Tigers tied the game in the bottom of the first inning, as two runners were on (via error and a walk) before Lindsey Strickrod launched a three-run homer over the wall in left center to knot the score 3-3. MSU stranded runners in each of the second, third, and fourth innings, including runners at third in the third and fourth frames. Zalewski entered the game with one on and none out in the fifth, and proceeded to strike out the side in both the fifth and sixth innings. The Spartans kept their foot on the gas in the seventh, as Foerster led off with a double, she stole second, and came around to score on a shot ripped up the left field line by Gutknecht. After a sac bunt by Besson that moved Gutknecht to second, she took third on a wild pitch – but was stranded there, one of nine runners the Spartans left on base in the game.