Michigan State softball triumphant in home opener against Central Michigan


MSU softball head coach Jacquie Joseph during the Spartans’ doubleheader sweep over Detroit Mercy on March 29, 2022/ Photo Credit: Sarah Smith/WDBM

Joseph DesVergnes (Joe Dez), Softball Beat Reporter

EAST LANSING – Michigan State softball’s home opener took place on Tuesday, March 21 as the Spartans secured a 3-0 victory over Central Michigan University. The Spartans improved their season record to 9-12 overall before they kick off their Big Ten campaign later this week.

After fears of a possible snow-cancellation earlier this week, Central Michigan made the trip to East Lansing and were greeted by a warm welcome from mother nature. With cloudy skies and temperatures around 50 degrees, the Spartans and Chippewas faced off in Secchia Stadium.

The main storyline of the first two innings was the pitching heroics of both Faith Guidry of MSU and Grace Lehto of CMU. Neither pitcher allowed any runs throughout the two innings, with Guidry not allowing a single player on base. Lehto showcased her resilience in both innings, throwing strikeouts after giving up a walk and a hit respectively in inning one and inning two.

Michigan State began to pull away at the top of the third, with Guidry continuing her heroics with three straight outs, including one strike out. At the bottom of the third, the Spartans turned up the heat on offense. With bases loaded, Alexis Barroso stepped up to the plate and while she did not get on base herself, Barroso was able to deliver a sacrifice-fly for Anna Fox to score the first run of the game.

The quest for the perfect game by Guidry ended at the top of the fourth, with Michaleigh Vallimont becoming the first Chippewa on base after earning a walk. While it appeared as if this might build some momentum for CMU, the Spartans delivered two straight outs to end the possession. 

During MSU’s turn at bat at the bottom of the fourth, AJ Millitello hit her second home run of the season, her first since Feb. 17.. “Just playing and having Michigan, the state that I grew up in, across my chest is very surreal…very special,” Millitello said.

The Chippewas had their best chance all game at the top of the fifth, with the opportunity to load the bases ruined by two consecutive outs. The Spartans took advantage of CMU’s missed opportunity, stretching their lead to three with a run from Jessica Mabrey.

The top of the sixth opened with the first hit from CMU’sAbbey Tolmie. Just as the door began to open for the Chippewas, it was slammed shut with the Spartans producing a double-play and a third out on the following two pitches.

Following a quiet sixth inning from the Michigan State offense, the top of the seventh produced a déjà vu for those in attendance, with the Chippewas securing their second hit of the game following an early out. 

Michigan State begins their three-day homestand against Wisconsin on Friday, March 24 in Secchia Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m. against the 13-8 Badgers.