Previewing Michigan State softball’s five-game weekend


MSU first baseman Mackenzie Meech in the batter’s box/Photo Credit: MSU Athletic Communications

Elaine Smith, General Assignment Reporter

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Michigan State softball kicks off its 2022 season with a five-game weekend playing back-to-back games at the Northern Lights/Southern Nights Invitational in Leesburg, Florida. The Spartans will play all five games in the span of three days against Pittsburgh, Kentucky, Connecticut, Virginia Tech and Akron. 

The Spartans ended a tough season in 2021, finishing with a heartbreaking 0-5 loss against rivals Ohio State, ultimately failing to qualify for the Big Ten Tournament. They went 14-26 in the regular season with a .350 winning percentage. The team went 8-7 at home, 3-10 on the road and 3-9 on neutral fields.

MSU pitcher Sarah Ladd winds up for a pitch during a game/ Photo Credit: MSU Athletic Communications

Michigan State is set to face a challenging start with Virginia Tech and Kentucky’s programs, who both ranked in the Top 25 last year. Virginia Tech finished at No. 13 and Kentucky finished at No. 19. However, the Spartans hope to start this season off strong with five new additions to the team. Freshmen Faith Guidry, Macy Lee, Ashley Martin and Kayleigh Roper, and transfer student Jessica Mabrey make their Spartan softball debuts on Friday at 10:00 a.m. against Pittsburgh. 

This year’s freshmen class is unique, as all four freshmen are out of state. Lee was ranked No. 53 among catchers in the 2021 class by Extra Innings Softball, and Roper was a four-year varsity starter and three-year captain for Venice High School in her hometown of Venice, Florida. 

MSU shortstop Caitie Ladd/ Photo Credit: MSU Athletic Communications

Spartan junior pitcher Sarah Ladd is expected to dominate this year after starting nine games in the 2021 season and finishing with a 3.33 ERA. In her 2020 season, she was ranked 10th in the Big Ten in strikeouts. Mackenzie Meech led the team with a .284 batting average in 2021 and started 37 of her 38 games played.

Michigan State fifth-year Caitie Ladd is also expected to show after leading the team in runs scored (16), hits (36), doubles (8), stolen bases (3), game starts (40) and games played (40) last season.

These games will be available to watch on FloSoftball throughout the weekend.