Michigan State softball records three shutouts in season kickoff


MSU pitcher Ashley Miller delivers the ball during a scrimmage against Notre Dame on Oct. 9, 2021/ Photo Credit: Sarah Smith/WDBM

Elaine Smith, General Assignment Reporter

The Michigan State Spartans kicked off their season with a five-game weekend collecting three wins and three shutouts over Pittsburgh, Connecticut and Akron. Sophomore pitcher Ashley Miller pitched a perfect game against Akron, the third in program history. 

The Spartans went 3-2 this weekend at the Northern Lights/Southern Nights tournament in Leesburg, Fla. They defeated Pittsburgh 1-0 in the season opener on Friday morning where Miller recorded a new career high in strikeouts (10) to lead the Spartans to their shutout win. She only allowed two hits and two walks to keep the Panthers scoreless. 

Miller and senior Kendall Kates both hit singles to bring home junior Courtney Callahan with the game’s only point in the fourth inning. Kates led the defense with 10 putouts and one assisted out. 

The Spartans fell short in the second game of the tournament at Sleepy Hollow Softball Complex. No. 19 Kentucky started off strong, leading 3-0 in the first inning. The Wildcats continued to score, ultimately taking home a 7-0 victory. 

Freshman Faith Guidry made her first collegiate start against the Wildcats, pitching a tough three innings. Guidry allowed seven hits and five earned runs but finished strong, allowing no runs scored in the third. 

MSU pitcher Faith Guidry delivers a pitch during a fall 2021 scrimmage against Notre Dame on Oct. 9, 2021/ Photo Credit: Sarah Smith/WDBM

Junior Sarah Ladd stepped in to pitch in relief for Guidry. She threw four innings, keeping the Wildcats scoreless for three-straight until they managed two runs in the seventh. 

The Spartans held their heads high entering their third game against University of Connecticut. Miller led the Spartans to a 6-0 victory, pitching her second shutout of the season. She struck out five Huskies to keep them off the scoreboard for all seven innings, giving her a starting record of 2-0. Sophomore Alexis Barroso and junior Camryn Wincher led the Spartans with both earning two hits in four at bats. Barroso roped in three runs to advance their lead. 

The Spartans found an early lead with two runs scored in the second inning. Barroso hit her first RBI of the game, bringing home Miller with a single right up the middle. Sophomore Jennea Wash hit a double out to right field, allowing Wincher to make it home and add to the score. 

Michigan State fell short to No. 13 Virginia Tech in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader with a score of 5-1. Senior Jessica Marbey put the Spartans on the board late in the seventh with the team’s first home run of the season. Wincher recorded six outs to lead the Spartans in fielding. 

MSU infielder Camryn Wincher makes contact with a pitch during a scrimmage against Notre Dame on Oct. 9, 2021/ Photo Credit: Sarah Smith/WDBM

The Spartans finished the weekend strong with a 6-0 victory against Akron. Miller joined the record books, pitching just the third perfect game in program history. She is also the first Spartan to pitch a perfect game in seven innings. She finished off the weekend 3-0, pitching 29 total strikeouts. She beat her own record set just two days prior with 14 strikeouts against the Zips, tied for most strikeouts in seven innings in the program’s history. 

Callahan, junior Kennedy Wyllie, freshman Kayleigh Roper and freshman Macy Lee all recorded two hits each to put the Spartans on the board. Lee brought two runners home with two RBIs to strengthen the Spartans’ lead. 

MSU started off the season strong and will face North Florida and Jacksonville next weekend for a doubleheader.