Michigan State softball splits doubleheader against Wisconsin


MSU softball head coach Jacquie Joseph fist-bumps an umpire before 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 – After rain forecasted for Saturday altered some plans, Michigan State faced a double-header to begin conference play, going against a strong Wisconsin team in Secchia Stadium.

The Spartans entered the matchup with a record of 9-12 after defeating Central Michigan to begin the homestand. The Badgers began the day with a record of 13-8, coming into the double-header following an impressive win over No. 13 ranked Alabama. Wisconsin’s record could be deemed as deceiving, as they are 13-4 in their last 17 games, starting the year slow with an 0-4 skid.

Michigan State’s defense fought against some adversity in the first inning. Sitting with players on second and third base, the Spartans secured three straight outs to end the top of the first, including their rejection of Skylar Sirdashney’s attempt to steal home. They would carry this momentum into the bottom of the first, striking first blood with an early run from Jessica Mabrey. 

After an unremarkable second inning, Wisconsin utilized some theatrics to get on the board. Skylar Sirdashney advanced from second to third base off of a wild pitch, then secured  a run for the Badgers off of a double steal.

The bottom of the third and the entirety of the fourth consisted of 1-2-3 innings, but all of the waiting paid off in the fifth. Sirdashney got her revenge for her failed attempt to steal home earlier in the game, hitting the first opposing home run in Secchia Stadium this season and recording an additional RBI with Brooke Kuffel scoring as a result.

The top of the fifth would cap off with Crane recording two RBI’s after hitting a ground ball that just barely stayed inside the field of play, which allowed both Ellie Hubbard and Katie Keller to score. The Spartans decided to employ a similar strategy during their turn at bat, with AJ Militello recording a run after Jessica Mabrey hit a ground ball that rode the foul line to stay inbounds.

The final two innings would result in no score change, with Wisconsin winning 5-3.

In the second matchup of the day, the Spartans came out scorching hot. During a near home run from Mandy Esman that bounced off the top of the wall, Macy Lee used the situation to her advantage to score the first run of the match. Esman would get retribution for the missed home run, scoring during Barroso’s single hit.

MSU continued their domination in the second inning, adding two more runs from Esman and Barroso to extend their lead to four.

“I just tried to relax, stick with my plan, and not get too much in my head and then just do my thing,” said Esman. Wisconsin cut into the four point deficit at the top of the fourth, with Konwent hitting a home run to start the inning. Schlossler and Kuffel scored two more runs for the Badgers, cutting the lead to only one for the Spartans.

The Spartans would add some separation in the bottom of the fourth, with a run coming from Militello. After a strong defensive effort to begin the fifth, Barroso hit a home run to extend the lead to three.

The sixth inning began with a quick possession by the Badgers that didn’t result in any changes. On the other side, the bottom of the sixth included the Spartans putting the final nail in the coffin, with runs scored by Mabrey and Militello after Macy Lee used the left foul line to her advantage.

Michigan State defeated Wisconsin 8-4 after a scoreless seventh inning, splitting the double header 1-1 between both teams.

The Spartans will face the Badgers on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. at Secchia Stadium to finish their three game series.