EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State (18-11, 2-3 BIG) earned their second Big Ten win of the season thanks to dominant pitching performances from starter Bridgette Rainey and closing pitcher Jordan Watson. The 2-0 win over Maryland at Secchia Stadium was very different to the game played yesterday.
“I think what you saw here was a totally different way that we won [compared to yesterday’s game],” coach Jacquie Joseph said. “I told the team after, ‘good teams find a way to win’ and we found a way to win with only four hits. And credit our pitching, both kids did a great job and we had timely hitting. So they held up and good for us.”
Rainey pitched five scoreless innings with eight strikeouts, four walks and only gave up one hit. She is now 9-5 on the season with a 4.30 ERA.
Maryland did have a few opportunities to put runs on the board in the top half of the second and fourth innings, but Rainey extinguished any fire before Maryland could take advantage.
“The baserunners are just a formality,” Rainey said. “As long as we are staying in it pitch-to-pitch it takes the pressure off to know that the most important pitch is just the next pitch and to just keep going with it.”
The Spartans’ two runs came in the third and fourth innings. In the third, Lea Foerster hit an RBI double, bringing in Lexi White. The hit for Foerster had twice the meaning for the junior from Portage, Mich. For one, she has now reached base safely in 25 straight games, and that double tied Foerster with Stacy Phillips for fourth all-time in Michigan State history.
In the fourth inning, the Spartans doubled their lead thanks to some smart base running by Kaitlyn Eveland, who scored on a wild pitch thrown by Maryland’s Hannah Dewey.
Joseph then changed hands for the last two innings of the game by giving the ball over to closer Watson.
“Bridgette [Rainey] put me in a really good position coming in, and that really helped me keep the momentum going,” Watson said.
Watson pitched a one-two-three top of the sixth and struck out the last batter in the seventh to end the game. This was Watson’s second save of the season.
“This is a new role for Jordan Watson. Nobody comes to college as a closer,” Joseph said. “So for her to embrace this role and do it so well and to be so young and perform in front of such a big crowd with the game on the line and to have that poise, I just cannot say enough about her.”
The win today also means that the Spartans have the opportunity sweep the series tomorrow.
“I told the team that you have to put theses games behind you quickly, certainly enjoy the victory, but they all just count for one and we have them [Maryland] where we want them,” Joseph said.