MSU Softball Prepares for Central Florida Tournament

After splitting last weekend’s four-game set in Miami, the Spartans will head to Orlando, Florida to face off with Kent State, Bradley University and the University of Central Florida in the Central Florida Tournament.

The Spartans will enter this weekend with a 10-8 record and will face an 8-2 Kent State team that has won their last six games. To close out the weekend the Spartans will face off against a UCF squad that has won seven of their last nine. In order to come away with wins against some tough competition, head coach Jacquie Joseph says the Spartans will need to capitalize on early opportunities.

“In any game when you start off and you have your opportunities I think it’s really important to take them,” Joseph said. “I think with both those teams, when we get our chances we have to capitalize and score first.”

The Spartans are 8-3 when scoring first, which goes to show how important it is that they come away with an early lead.

Redshirt freshman Kristina Zalewski has been the Spartans’ top pitcher this season with a 1.63 ERA (fifth in the Big Ten) and has recorded 59 strikeouts to go along with her seven wins this season. Zalewski won both of her games from the circle last weekend and hopes to take the same success she had in Miami to Orlando.

“It’s good knowing that I have the team to back me up and I know that they’re there,” Zalewski said. “It makes it a lot easier and comfortable.”

Alyssa McBride has been hitting the ball extremely well for the Spartans this season. She leads the team with a .463 batting average and has driven in nine runs off 19 hits. McBride will enter this weekend flaunting an 11-game hitting streak and says consistency from pitch to pitch and confidence have been key contributors to her success.

“A big reason for my success so far is I’m very confident,” McBride said. “I’m playing free, I’m playing calm and I’m just living in the moment.”

The Spartans have a doubleheader Saturday, in which they will face Kent State starting at 1 p.m. and Bradley University at 3 p.m.. On Sunday, they have another matchup with Bradley starting at 11:30 a.m. and will close out the weekend against No. 15 UCF.

Jacob Herbert is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports

Photo: Hannah McEnroe/Impact Sports