Michigan State opened up a three-game series with Indiana on Friday at Secchia Stadium, scoring a 6-2 victory. MSU is now 21-20 overall with a 3-8 record in Big Ten play, while the Hoosiers are now 22-18, 5-7 in Conference action.
MSU scored at least one run in each of the first five innings, and despite stranding 10 runners. Kristina Zalewski tossed her 11th complete game of the season, a career best, scattering seven hits and striking out six.
Zalewski’s six strikeouts gave her 305 in her career, tied with Diane Gentry for 10th place on the all-time list. Her 157 strikeouts this season is eighth in a single-season at MSU. She improves to 10-11 overall on the year.
Eight of nine MSU starters had a base hit in the game, and the Spartans only had two strikeouts and added three walks.
The teams meet again for game two of the series at 1 pm on Saturday.
Sarah Gutknecht and Lea Foerster both went went 2-for-4 with an RBI. Destinee Luna went 2-for-3, with an RBI and was part of a defensive relay to gun-down Indiana baserunner at the plate in the fifth. Kassidy Kujawa went 2-for-3 with a double. Kristina Zalewski made her career-best 21st start of the season, striking out six while spraying seven hits in yielding two runs.
“Our goal is to get better game-to-game. We didn’t get the result we wanted on the scoreboard on Wednesday, but I do think we carried a lot of the good things we did then over to today. We generated runs, we moved runners. I would obviously like to see us leave a lot fewer runners on base than we did today, but we certainly started the right way in this series.”
Head coach Jacquie Joseph
STATS AND STORYLINES
MSU jumped out in front in the bottom of the first. McKenzie Long drew a one-out walk, and came around to score on a single to right center by Sarah Gutknecht. Josie Wood hit Kassidy Kujawa to put runners at first and second, and they advanced into scoring position on a wild pitch. Thomas grounded out to second to end the inning, stranding both runnners. The Spartans stayed aggressive in the second, as Lindsey Besson reached on an error, and Destinee Lunadropped down a beautiful bunt that put two on with one out. Lea Foerster singled to left, bringing home pinch runner Kelly Zackrison. Celeste Wood drew a two-out walk to load the bases, and Gutknecht stepped in. Luna came home on a wild pitch to make it 3-0, and Gutknecht grounded out to get the Hoosiers out of the inning. Kassidy Kujawa led off the bottom of the third with a double to right center, and after an error at first that allowed Shanin Thomas to reach base, Kujawa was gunned down trying to come home. Singles by Lexi Whiteand Destinee Luna brought Thomas home for the fourth run of the game. Back-to-back one-out singles by Wood and Gutknecht in the bottom of the fourth led to an IU pitching change, turning it over to Emily Kirk in the circle. Kujawa reached on a fielder’s choice, as the shortstop nabbed Wood going to third; Thomas dropped a single into shallow center that brought home Gutknecht for a 5-0 lead. The Hoosiers got on the board for the first time in the fifth inning. A leadoff single by Rachel O’Malley turned into a runner on second on an error in right, and a groundout moved O’Malley to third. An infield single by Erin Lehman scored O’Malley, and CaraMia Tsirigos followed by reaching on an error, leaving two runners on base for Michelle Huber. She hit a long fly ball to right center, but a heads-up relay throw by Destinee Luna nabbed pinch runner Alyssa Rosati at home. Zalewski got out of the inning by getting Kelsey Dotson looking at a called third strike. Lea Foerster’s two-out single and stolen base put her on second base in the fifth. McKenzie Long’s check swing put down a slow roller, and first baseman Michelle Huber watched the ball slowly roll up the first base line. She never got the ball to roll out of bounds, but with her back to the infield, Foerster took advantage and sped around third and came home for the sixth Spartan run of the game. Sarah Gutknecht’s two hits give her a career-best 42 on the year. Lea Foerster’s two hits moves her to 53, six shy of her freshman year total of 59